The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reminding parents and others about the dangers of leaving children unattended in a vehicle.
In the United States, one child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle every 10 days, and outside of crashes heatstroke is the number one vehicle-related killer, according to the agency.
"In almost no time temperatures inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels, which creates a dangerous situation for children who are in a car unsupervised,” said Deputy Administrator Heidi King in a statement. “Parents and caregivers are the first line of defense for preventing these tragedies—but everyone in the community has a role to play.”
Since 1998, there have been 760 pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths, including 18 so far in 2018. The agency stated that eliminating these deaths requires education, vigilance, and personal responsibility.
To help prevent these tragic events, the NHTSA provided the following safety tips:
- Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended.
- Make it a habit to look in the back seat EVERY time you exit the car.
- Always lock the car and put the keys out of reach.
If you are a bystander and see a child in a hot vehicle:
- Make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.
- If the child appears to be okay, attempt to locate the parents or have the facility’s security or management page the car owner over the PA system.
- If there is someone with you, one person should actively search for the parent while the other waits at the car.
- If the child is not responsive or appears to be in distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child—even if that means breaking a window. Many states have “Good Samaritan” laws that protect people from lawsuits for getting involved to help a person in an emergency.
For additional child safety information please visit www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/child-safety.