Kids (and Pets) in Hot Cars- The Preventable Tragedy

Today is Heat Stroke Prevention Day. It’s designed to remind people of the danger of leaving children in cars.

I know, we talk this subject to death. And yet death is the result for 19 kids so far this year. The adults responsible include a hospital CEO and a foster father. And who knows HOW many animals have died?

As I've said before, Rumpy loves to lie out in the hot sun. I stay out with him and make him come in after a few minutes.
As I’ve said before, Rumpy loves to lie out in the hot sun. I stay out with him and make him come in after a few minutes.

So why DO people leave kids in cars?

A study of the phenomenon found that: 

51% – child “forgotten” by caregiver

29% – child playing in unattended vehicle

18% – child intentionally left in vehicle by adult (yes, they knew what they were doing, but didn’t think anything would happen)

1% – circumstances unknown

With animals, it’s almost always an intentional choice.

I, personally, have chewed a mama out when I saw a 6 year old left in a car. And if I see anyone alone in a car, I ask if they’re alright.

Even with the windows down, it’s too hot inside the vehicle to stay for long. A child should NEVER be left alone in a car, even for a minute. A child 14 years old has died of heat stroke after having been left in a hot car, so don’t assume because they CAN get out, they won’t become a victim.

With all this publicity about the dangers of leaving living creatures in hot cars, the fact remains that it still happens far too often. A woman in Orlando was recently charged with child cruelty when she knowingly left her infant in the car while taking her 9 year old child to a doctor’s appointment. Why? Because the infant was sleeping and she didn’t think she’d be in the doctor’s office that long. That child, fortunately, lived.

If you are a parent, I encourage you to set up a reminder system to make sure you never leave your child in the car. And don’t say it’ll never happen to you, because it can. One of the best systems I’ve heard of is leaving your left shoe in the back seat if a child is in the car. Then you’ll have to look in the back to get your shoe and will see the child.

And never, NEVER leave a child or an animal alone in a car, even for a minute. 

If you DO see a child or animal left in a car, call law enforcement and intervene as circumstances require. Don’t worry about what will happen to you. Whatever it is, it won’t be near as bad as what will happen to that kid or animal if you do nothing.



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37 thoughts on “Kids (and Pets) in Hot Cars- The Preventable Tragedy

  1. Great post. So tragic to hear of these awful deaths, of both children and pets. So preventable. I like the shoe idea. People are in too much of a hurry these days and need to slow down and THINK!

    1. We are in a hurry, but that’s today’s normal. Also, we didn’t used to put our infants in the backseat. So that is a contributing factor.

  2. Good advice and great post! I think that the idea to leave your left shoe in the back seat is really great! This is a serious problem here, too….we can’t loose our precious because of the heat….we should try to help each other eyeing on the other cars, too.

  3. I did once see the following on a car window: “Engine is running and air conditioner is on full blast. Radio is on, and tuned to Classic Rock. Dog enjoys AC/DC but can’t stand Nicki Minaj. Don’t break window, I’ll be right back.”

  4. Altough we all should know it, I saw the first dog in a “glowing” car. But this time the rotten tomato for that goes not to France, this one goes to UK. I asked the the sales person and she was so kind to page them via the store-system (probably the owners will hate me now or they think I have a screw loose, but I couldn’t walk away as I saw the pup in the car)

  5. In my opinion, there’s no such thing as reminding people too much about this. Yes, it’s been publicized enormously, but we still see so many reports of kids and pets dying in cars! I just don’t understand it. I think it’s great that you keep the subject alive.

    1. Thanks. It seems to have turned into a spectator sport. We all sit back and say we’d never do such a thing. That my be why it keeps happening.

  6. Great post! I love the idea of leaving the left shoe in the back seat.
    … or perhaps leaving the smart phone in the back seat would solve more than one serious issue!

  7. Thank you for this Rumpy! I’ve had to call the police (who send animal control out) a number of times because someone left their dog in the car while they went grocery shopping. The manager of the grocery store never did anything about it. They wouldn’t even put the flyer up that I offered them. Generally, the people would come back for their dog long before animal control arrived arrived. But usually, there was always someone else who had left their dog in the car and so I send animal control to them instead.

    1. Recently a video was posted on YouTube of people breaking a vehicle window to remove a child from a hot car. But, amazingly, they didn’t call law enforcement. Instead, they allowed the mother to leave with the child. That bothered me.

  8. It has become an everyday occurrence to read stories about animals or children forgotten in vehicles. Hoe many of these people have forgotten their phones in the car? Just saying!!!

  9. Unfortunately, Jen, this is a reminder that needs repeating. A baby died in our area when the dad forgot he left his child in the car. A man in another state is accused of intentionally leaving his child in the car and the child died. It is preventable. But some people are so overwhelmed trying to juggle too many things at the same time that these fatal results do occur.

  10. Fantastic site you have here but I was curious
    if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics discussed here?
    I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get advice from other experienced people that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
    Thank you!

  11. This is one of those incredibly important messages folks keeps thinking everyone knows, but then we’re surprised at either how easy it is to be distracted, or how horrible it is to be ignorant. Many thanks for bringing this up at a most critical time of the year. Cheers!

  12. Many years ago I accidentally left my little Yorkshire Terrier in the car for about eight minutes before I remembered and bolted back at about 100 kms an hour. She was fine but I was shaking like a leaf. She’d been very quiet on the back floor and I just forgot I’d brought her with me to pick the kids up. It’s awful to think people do it intentionally.

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