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How to Prevent Hot Vehicle Deaths

Even when the weather outside isn’t overly warm, it doesn’t take long for the temperature inside your vehicle to soar—leaving anyone still in the car while it’s parked at risk. In fact, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirms that the temperature within a vehicle can easily reach up to 110 F—a lethal level of heat for anyone inside—when it’s 57 F or warmer outside. What’s more, it only takes 10 minutes for the temperature in a vehicle to rise by 20 degrees.

Leaving kids alone in hot vehicles is particularly dangerous, since a child’s body temperature can increase three to five times faster than that of an adult. That being said, leaving a child unattended in a hot vehicle could become a deadly situation in a matter of minutes. Don’t let your own child—or any child—be the next victim of a hot vehicle death. Whether you are a parent, caregiver or simply a passerby, use this guidance to help prevent hot vehicle fatalities.

Tips for Parents and Caregivers

How to Prevent Hot Vehicle Deaths
  • Never leave a child unattended in your vehicle, even if the windows are open, the air conditioning is left on or the weather outside doesn’t seem warm to you.
  • Try to make it a habit to check all the areas inside your vehicle before walking away.
  • Consider placing reminders in your vehicle to ensure you never leave a child behind. This could include putting a note or one of the kid’s toys in the front seat to reinforce that a child is in the back seat, or storing an important personal item (e.g., a purse, wallet or briefcase) next to the child in the back seat, so you will be sure to look for it before exiting the vehicle.
  • If you are a parent, ask your child’s day care provider or school to contact you if they don’t show up when expected.

Tips for Passersby

  • If you see a child left alone in a vehicle, follow these steps:
  • Check to see if the child is alert or responsive by waving or knocking on the windows. If they appear to be awake and in a safe condition, attempt to locate the owner of the vehicle. If you are at a public location, ask a manager to make an announcement to help find the vehicle owner.
  • If the child is unresponsive or appears to be in distress, or you cannot locate the owner of the vehicle, call 911 immediately and try to help get the child out of the vehicle—even if that entails breaking a window. Most states have laws in place that will protect you from any lawsuit that could arise for damaging the vehicle in an attempt to save the child.

Don’t Forget to Lock Your Vehicle

Apart from leaving a child in your vehicle unattended, forgetting to lock your vehicle’s doors or trunk is another hazard that could cause a hot car death. After all, a curious kid might sneak into your unlocked vehicle and get themselves stuck, unable to escape. To prevent this risk, always lock your vehicle’s doors and trunk when leaving it unattended, and store your keys in a secure location, out of the reach of children. For additional vehicle safety guidance and auto insurance solutions, contact us today or call us at 972-472-2040.

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