Auto Fatalities: Kids in Hot Cars

auto fatalities

One of the saddest types of auto fatalities occurs when children are left alone in a car in hot weather. It’s no secret that children die in hot cars, yet the tragedies continue. Every year, 38 children die from heat-related causes after becoming trapped inside motor vehicles. Even the most attentive parents or caretakers might accidentally leave a sleeping baby in a car, resulting in harm or even death.

Every year, as summer approaches, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other safety organizations mount campaigns to raise awareness of the danger of heatstroke.

This year, the NHTSA is again reminding drivers to always check the rear seat before leaving their vehicle. NHTSA also reminds everyone to stay alert and call 911 if they see a child alone in a hot car.

Reducing Hot Car Auto Fatalities

Sophie Shulman, Deputy Administrator of NHTSA, said 38 children die every year in hot cars. “Our goal is to get all Americans to understand the dangers of hot cars and do their part to keep children safe by never leaving a child alone in a car and checking the backseat before getting out of the vehicle.”

Schulam also pointed out that a hot car can kill children even if the weather isn’t hot. “Even with cracked windows, children can die in vehicles parked in the shade at temperatures as low as 57 degrees. Heat can be devastating to a child’s body, as children’s bodies heat five times faster than adult bodies. Injury or death can occur very quickly in a hot car” she said.

Know the Facts Hot Car Auto Fatalities

  • A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s. When a child is left in a vehicle, that child’s temperature can rise quickly — and the situation can quickly become dangerous.
  • Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees. 
  • A child can die when their body temperature reaches 107 degrees.
  • In 2022, 33 children died of heatstroke in vehicles.
  • In 2018 and 2019, we saw a record number of hot car deaths —  53 children died each year — the most in at least 25 years, according to

In order to prevent child auto fatalities, the NHTSA urges everyone to take the following steps:

Always remember to secure your car when not in use. Even if you don’t have a child of your own, an unattended unlocked car could result in disastrous consequences for a neighborhood kid. Never leave a child in the car alone, even if only for a brief period. Rolling the window down has little effect on regulating temperature—heatstroke can occur even on moderately cool days, and temperatures within the vehicle can reach dangerous levels in about 10 minutes.

When you travel with your child, take the extra step before leaving to verify they have been dropped off at daycare or with a caregiver, noting that some cars now come equipped with backseat reminder technology. Experts recommend that drivers place a personal item like a purse or briefcase in the back seat, as another reminder to look before you lock. Write a note or place a stuffed animal in the passenger’s seat to remind you that a child is in the back seat.

Lastly, should you encounter a young person suffering from the heat in a car, act quickly. Call 911 and help avert this avoidable tragedy. Together we can keep children safe! Don’t forget to glance into the backseat before walking away and ask yourself, “Where’s baby?”

The Orlando car accident attorneys at the Martinez Manglardi Personal Injury Law Firm remind Floridians to stay safe and avoid auto fatalities as they take to the roads this summer.

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