Children dying from heatstroke in cars, either because they were left or became trapped, has increased in recent years. In 2018 and 2019, a record 53 children died of vehicular heatstroke each year. In 2020, 25 children lost their lives in hot cars, and in 2021 five children have died so far.
Here is what parents need to know about the danger of hot cars, and steps they can take to help keep their children safe.
While some parents knowingly leave a child in the car and some children gain access to an unattended vehicle, a shocking 54% of hot car deaths are the result of a parent (or caregiver) forgetting that a child is in the car. So how can hot car deaths be prevented?
Is it illegal to leave a child in the car? The answer is yes. Hot cars and children should never mix. In Pennsylvania, a person commits an offense if he/she leaves a child younger than six years of age unattended when the motor vehicle is out of the person’s sight and under circumstances which endanger the health, safety or welfare of the child. If you see a child alone in a vehicle, make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.