Remember, Folks: Don’t Leave Your Kids In Hot Cars This Summer

People in many areas of the country are already talking about how hot it is right now, so why not take a few minutes to stress safety in such a heat wave?: We’re sure most of you know that leaving any living, breathing being locked inside a car on a hot day is a bad idea. But even so, accidents do happen. Even if you’re in a hurry, leaving your child in the car “just for a minute” is totally unacceptable.

In hot weather, temperatures can rise quickly to dangerous levels inside cars, something parents might not realize. When outside temps hit the 80s, it only takes 10 minutes, even with a window cracked, for a car to heat up to over 100 degrees inside. In 2011, 33 children were killed due to hyperthermia, down from 49 ids in 2010. Most of the fatalities were children under 4, report our smarter siblings over at Consumer Reports.

WIth the official start of summer today, it’s a good time to remind yourself to slow down and say, “Where’s baby? Look before you lock.” That’s the theme of the the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new campaign to educate parents.

Here are some tips from Consumer Reports for the hot summer months:

• Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, not even for a minute. In addition to being dangerous, it is the law in many states.
• Check the car to make sure that all occupants leave the vehicle or are carried out when unloading. If you lock the door with a key, rather than with a remote, it would force that one last look in the car before leaving it.
• Always lock your car and keep keys and remotes away from children.
• Keep a stuffed animal in the front passenger seat as a reminder of a child in the backseat.
• Place something in the backseat that you would need, such as a purse, briefcase or cell phone.
• Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up.
• If you see a child alone in a car, especially if they seem hot, call 911 immediately to help get them out.

Summer heat wave brings the danger of children in hot cars [Consumer Reports]


Edit Your Comment

  1. gman863 says:

    Same advice applies to pets: Don’t leave them in the car. An open window is useless; they’ll still get heat stroke.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Please don’t let your dogs go walking on hot Phoenix asphalt as I saw a few times already this afternoon. It’s going to be 110 today. You can wrap your pets’ feet in little booties, or maybe Reynolds Wrap.

      • gman863 says:

        Reynolds Wrap? Aluminum foil conducts heat and would be useless in preventing burns to the feet.

        I doubt this exists; however some tiny heat-resistant boots made out of the same stuff as NASCAR drivers’ fireproof suits would work best.

        • ChuckECheese says:

          The tin foil was a joke. The booties are not a joke. People/animals were not meant to walk barefoot on desert streets and sidewalks.

      • The Cupcake Nazi says:

        Seriously? No dog I ever knew is going to let you put stuff on their feet and not pull it off.

        • ChuckECheese says:

          There are protective booties for dog feet. Once your dog realizes the burning alternative, there is no pulling them off. Hot pavement can cause 2nd degree burns.

    • Julia789 says:

      I complained to PetSmart about two dogs left in the car in the heat, panting like crazy, asking if they would page the owners and ask them to come get their dogs out of the car. Easy right? “Owners of black Honda please come to register 1” or something?

      They said “It’s against corporate policy to get involved with dogs left in cars.” So they were just going to leave them there to die.

      I walked out, about to call police on my cell, and saw the owners had just gotten back and were shutting the door and driving off.

      I have no idea how long they were in the car before I pulled up and saw them. But it could have killed the dogs – especially in direct sun.

      What would have happened if this was a Toys R Us and someone was reporting a baby left in the car? Would they not be allowed to “get involved?” I have to wonder.

    • turkishmonky says:

      If my dog is ever travelling with me and I need to stop to pick up a pizza or something, I’ll always leave remote start running the vehicle with AC on full, even if it’s just a few minutes. This way my dog can still enjoy the car rides he loves so much, and I don’t have to worry about heatstroke.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      Unfortunately it’s already happened. Yesterday an article was out about a guy that forgot his baby was in the car and he drove to work and left him there all day in the back seat. Kid didn’t make it.

  2. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    That’s right!
    If your going to cook them, use a grill like any god fearing American!

    • Coffee says:

      Cooking your own children is disgusting, and quite frankly, I am offended.

      Your own children.

      • rookie says:

        I found that my children were MUCH tastier than the neighbors.
        The supply seems to be dwindling, though…

        • RickN says:

          I feed my own children milk, keep them indoors, and give them daily massages. It’s the only way to get a Kobe rating.

          My neighbors are more free-range and you just know those little fellas are stringy.

          • Coffee says:

            Oooooh! They sound delicious! I’ve heard that if you slow-cook them in the car, the meat practically falls off the tiny little bones!

      • prismatist says:

        Just because you prefer *your* own children sashimi style, that doesn’t mean other people prefer cooked. Don’t force your culinary preferences on the rest of us!

      • Blueskylaw says:

        This message was brought to you as a public
        service announcement by the Donner Party Foundation.

  3. Schildkrote says:

    “In 2011, 33 children were killed due to hyperthermia, down from 49 ids in 2010. Most of the fatalities were children under 4, report our smarter siblings over at Consumer Reports.”

    It’s not a good day without an MBQ typo. I’m also glad we’ve still got egos and superegos to spare after what happened to those ids.

    • bikeoid says:

      Not a typo: ids –> Infant Death Syndrome by thermal overload.

    • Auron says:

      I tell ya….those damn lefties really want us to protect our kids…….next thing ya know, they will be advocating privacy in our bedrooms…..

    • pamelad says:

      What’s an ids?

      “Keep a stuffed animal in the front passenger seat as a reminder of a child in the backseat.
      • Place something in the backseat that you would need, such as a purse, briefcase or cell phone.”

      Really? Better idea is not to breed if you need any of these reminders.

  4. coffee100 says:

    Remember 20, 30 years ago when this never happened, ever?

    • demeteloaf says:

      I think that has to do with the safety changes that moved car seats to the rear seat, and changed them from front facing to rear facing.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I bet it happened; we just didn’t hear about it.

      • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

        Yup. My dad said they nearly lost a family dog by trying to sneak him with them to church in the family van.

        10 kids? It’s easy to hide a dog in there.

    • Costner says:

      No I don’t… because I remember hearing about it happening to a family in my area about 20 years ago.

      I know it seems hard to believe, but all these stupid people you see walking around didn’t just magically appear 20 to 30 years ago. There were stupid people in the 80s and 90s just as there are stupid people today. Although due to population growth, there could possibly be more stupid people in terms of volume if not percentage.

      That being said, all we need to do to prove how many stupid people existed in the 80s is to remember that the Chrysler sold about 300,000 K-cars every year during that time period. If that isn’t evidence enough of stupidity run amok… I’m not sure what is.

  5. El_Fez says:

    If you see a child alone in a car, especially if they seem hot, call 911 immediately to help get them out.

    Call 911? The hell with that – it’ll take the cops well over half an hour to get there. I’m finding a rock and busting the window out.

    • SiddhimaAmythaon says:

      I am pretty sure the law whould be with you on that one.

      • dru_zod says:

        Betcha some parents would try to make you pay for a new window, though.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          I recommend busting in the windshield. Most expensive piece of glass, and illegal for them to drive the car away from the scene.

          • GrandizerGo says:

            And near useless for getting into the car to help the child.
            Plus my state has free glass, so any glass breakage is not costing me a single penny anyhow.

    • superml says:

      They might require medical attention, depending how long they had been in the vehicle.

    • runswithscissors says:

      I’d do both, really. First smash window and haul them out, shouting at people to call 911 while doing so. Once kid is out of the car and in shade, if no one seems to have called 911 then I call.

      But both are needed, the kid may well need medical attention. Plus I want the cops there to arrest the mofo who left the kid in there.

  6. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    That’s the theme of the the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new campaign to educate parents.

    At some point we’re just going to have to stop all this expensive nannystate nonsense and let natural selection take over. Just a few years and we’d raise the average IQ of the country 20 points.

    • Tegan says:

      I agree that the whole nanny state business has gone too far what with governments trying to limit the size pop you can buy, but honestly I don’t think this is a great example. The ones suffering here are the innocent kids, not their idiot parents. I’m all for kids not dying in hot cars.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        What people also don’t realize is that the children might not die, but merely become permanently brain-damaged.

        • TheMansfieldMauler says:

          If they came from parents that stupid, they’re probably already brain damaged.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      At least in modern culture, natural selection should apply to what you do to yourself, not what you do to the innocent.

      Meaning, killing yourself due to idiocy is all well and good, but don’t kill your children or other people through your own idiocy. If nature truly wants to end your blood line, your children will provide the means themselves.

      • Lyn Torden says:

        I think he means case where the child cares the same genes for idiocy.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          I am pretty sure I addressed that. If they carry the same idiot gene, they’ll find a way to die for themselves.

  7. Gman says:

    So I can’t leave the kids in the car with a bowl of water and a bag of goldfish while i’m at work? Aww man well there goes my video game, tv shopping channel and brookstone crapgadget budget.



    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      LOL I had a vision of the kids putting the goldfish in the water and then whining, “I’m thirsty…..”

  8. italianbaby says:

    here where i live (midwest) a few days ago a couple left there 9 month old baby in their car for 6 hrs.
    they had totally forgot about him and he died.
    in the last months 3 children under the age of 2, have died, left in a hot car while their mothers went into a store to shop.
    the temps here have been 95 degrees sunny and humid.
    how can a parent not know leaving a child in a sweltering car not kill them… so sad.

    • Torgonius wants an edit button says:

      This is from Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post in 2010. He won the Pulitzer for feature writing for this story.

      And I recognize a lot of me in the people that this happened to, and it scares me to death that I could possibly do that to my son.

      • Doubting thomas says:

        What a crap article. We are supposed to feel any sympathy or empathy for the kind of self-centered ass-hat who forgets their own kid even exists? Who have no sense of priorities, and who cause others to suffer and-or die because their cell-phone call and their Venti-Cappucino are more important to them than their own offspring?

        I will even admit to having driven past the day-care without dropping my son off. But i never made it to work, and would/could NEVER leave them alone in a car.

        • Driblis says:

          Yes, you’re supposed to have empathy for people whose children have died.

          What kind of sociopath are you?

        • AustinTXProgrammer says:

          If you have been in auto pilot enough to drive past the day care than it COULD happen to you. It’s not likely though, 33 deaths a year is 33 too many, but there are millions of absent minded parents who wouldn’t forget their baby on 99.999% of days.

      • Jillia says:

        Is it a crime… Yes it’s a crime!!! It’s called negligence. If you let that shit slide, well then that is a slippery slope my friend. Forgetfulness is not an excuse.

  9. Nobby says:

    And if you MUST leave kids in hot cars, please be kind enough to tie them up and blindfold them.

  10. caradrake says:

    At what age does this become acceptable? I think I was around 8 (and my sister 9-10ish), maybe a little younger than that. Is there any rule of thumb? Obviously older kids are responsible enough to be left inside when a parent runs into a convenience store.

    • JJFIII says:

      How about, if you aren’t comfortable leaving the kid home alone, do not leave them in a locked car? I disagree about an 8 year old as well. If you are that lazy you can not take them out of the car to get your cigarettes and pop, then you should not get them.

      • BD2008 says:

        Going in for cigarettes and pop certainly isn’t long enough to kill the baby. The deaths are occurring when they are left for extended periods in the heat.

      • caradrake says:

        Well, back when I was 8-ish, you had to go inside to pay for gas, so it wasn’t just “cigarettes and pop.” It was a fairly routine occurance, and I am now genuinely interested in what the current rules/guidelines are.

        Even for leaving a kid at home, I think the guidelines have changed over the last couple of decades.

    • Lisse24 says:

      I loved being left in the car as a kid.

      I also remember playing in the car as a kid during the summer. We’d be running around in the sprinkling and get chilled and so then we’d run into the car where it was nice and warm. We were smart enough to get out when it got too hot.

      So…I think for safety’s sake the answer is: when the kid is old enough to get out on their own if they need to.

      Of course, there are also the people who don’t like kids being left in cars because they’re of the mindset that no child under 12 should ever be one moment without an adult looking right at them – and I see a little of that prejudice sneaking through in the article as well. I have no patience for it.

  11. ChuckECheese says:

    … I left my baby on the bus!

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      I forgot my little grey alien on a bus once. Poor thing was scared to death when I went back to pick it up.

  12. Lyn Torden says:

    What about cats?

    • rookie says:

      Cats must be packed like sardines and the car left running with the heat on high…

      Oh, nuts, did I say that out loud???

  13. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    Remember, Folks: Don’t Leave Your Kids In Hot Cars This Summer… unless you really detest the little shits.

  14. sirwired says:

    I will point out that most of these deaths are due to a tragic brain fart, not parents letting their kids bake while they shop in the mall. (The stupid reserve that treatment for their pets.)

    I’m not saying it never happens, just that complete accidents are more common.

    Gene Weingarten with the Washington Post did a longform piece about this a few years back that netted him a Pulitzer. The parents that do this weren’t bad people, just those that had a disruption in their routine and just forgot. (i.e. Mom usually drops the kids off at daycare on Wednesday, but Dad had to this week. Dad puts the kid in his car, gets tied up in something, forgets, and simply drives the car to work and parks it, forgetting the kid that was napping in the back.) Sometimes these parents get prosecuted, and they usually get acquitted because they are already completely broken by the tragedy, and I doubt they’d even care if they were sent to prison.

    The article’s worth a read. Very sad.

    • Ophelia says:

      It is a really great article. A line that will stick with me forever is something like “If you can forget your phone, you can forget your child”. Your brain basically just moves past it – it’s not like you’re consciously forgetting, in your mind, the child is safe and sound at daycare where he belongs.

      I am very paranoid about this (well, not as much now that my kids are older and don’t nap in the car very often).

      • jonmason1977 says:

        Bullshit. I dont care where my phone is 99% of the time, I care where my son is all the time…

        • msbask says:

          You need to read the Gene Weingarten article and have some empathy for people who got in this situation through a very specific set of circumstances. It’s absolutely tragic for all involved.

      • Jillia says:

        To equate a child to your phone is despicable. Please don’t have kids.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      When you add in new parents being exhausted while caring for a baby, working, and doing whatever else they do all day at the same time, it’s easy to see how it can happen. I feel awful for them when this happens.

      I do not feel sorry for the pet people and I hope they roast in Hell. You can leave little Fifi home while you shop. She doesn’t belong in the store either.

  15. Cal says:

    With the popularity of remote control door locking systems, just too many drivers simply exit and either press the remote 10 feet away or allow the vehicle to self-lock. The days of actually turning around and inserting a key into the door lock to manually do so are gone. This technology will undoubtedly increase infant deaths in vehicles. Finally, distractions such as on-going mobile phone conversations and text messaging while exiting a car add to the tragedy factor.

    • Jimmy60 says:

      IIRC correctly, while there may have been a few models of cars that required you to lock them with the key in the door, most could be locked on exit simply by pushing the lock button down and holding the door handle button (or holding it up) while closing the door. Some could even lock without doing anything other than pushing down the lock button. There never really was a day when car doors were locked with the key.

      But those were the good old days when people would even pull their own floor mats out from under the gas pedal instead of suing the manufacturer.

  16. benh999 says:

    Do that many people really forget their kids in the car?

  17. framitz says:

    When we were kids our mom would leave us in the car while she did business until one time…

    My little sister knocked the shift lever into neutral and the car rolled back and into the street. I managed to get it stopped before we hit anything. I think I was 6 at the time.

    Mom never left us in the car alone again. I have never left children in a car, hot or not.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      My parents let us PLAY in the car (when it was parked, at home). I cannot believe they did that and I would not EVER let my kids do it, for the very reason you said.

  18. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    RE: Photo

    What good is mining for nose gold if you can’t share it with the townspeople!!?

  19. smo0 says:

    Keep a stuffed animal in the front passenger seat as a reminder of a child in the backseat.



    One would think it was one of those things you’d remember.

  20. akronharry says:

    Sometime in the 90’s in Chatham Township,Ohio, a child was left in a car with the car running and the child somehow put the car in reverse. It rolled across the street into a pond and the child died. Take the kids out of the car!!!!!!!

  21. Chairman-Meow says:

    Thank the gods you told me this! I would have never known otherwise.

    Now, can I still leave my 3rd floor windows open so my kids can see out without the window obstructing their view ?

    • Cor Aquilonis says:

      It’s OK if you have a window screen in place – that way they won’t fall out. Also, don’t forget to leave them with plastic bags and half-full buckets of water to play with! You wouldn’t want them to get bored while you iron the shirt you’re wearing while you’re wearing it.

  22. Hobz says:

    “Place something in the backseat that you would need, such as a purse, briefcase or cell phone.”


    What the hell is wrong with some people, that a purse, cell phone or briefcase means more than their kid in the back seat?

  23. aaron8301 says:

    “• If you see a child alone in a car, especially if they seem hot, call 911 immediately to help get them out.”

    I’ll call 911, as soon as I’m done breaking out a window (farthest from the child) and pulling the child out, criminal/civil charges be damned.

  24. km9v says:

    These people are sofa king stupid.