Today I want to tell you about a heartbreaking, completely preventable tragedy in this country. This year, it’s estimated that almost 40 kids will die in hot cars. Many others will suffer serious injury.
According to a recent survey published by SafeKids.org:
• 14% of parents have intentionally left their children in a parked car.
• 11% of parents admit to forgetting their child in a car.
• Nearly 1 in 4 parents of a child younger than 3 has forgotten the child in a car.
• Dads are nearly three times more likely than moms to leave a child in a parked car.
By the way, not all hot car deaths are caused because people forget. Some parents believe cracking the window will make the car cool enough. On a hot day or in direct sunlight, it’s not.
Some deaths are caused because kids get into cars to play, are trapped and die before anyone discovers them.
But more than half of all child heat stroke deaths in cars were caused because a parent forgot their child was in the car. The parent is distracted, preoccupied or running on autopilot, like many busy parents of babies and toddlers. The child falls asleep. The parent gets out of the car and leaves the baby behind.
A story in USA Today recommends one simple way to make sure that never happens: leave something you need in the back seat.
If you are driving a child, after you put them in a back seat — in a car seat, booster or buckled in with a seat belt — put your left shoe back there, too.
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best!I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.