unattended childrenWe all live busy lives, have errands to run and tasks to complete; however, it is never okay to leave children unattended in or near a car. Left alone in or around a vehicle for even a short time, a child is in danger of heat stroke, dehydration, overheating, hypothermia, injury, abduction and even death. The “Not Even for a Minute” campaign is encouraging parents and caregivers to never leave unattended children in a car—even for a minute!!!

Since 2000, more than 1,000 children have died in non-traffic accidents including:

  • Temperature. A vehicle that is parked in direct sunlight can reach 130 degrees in just fifteen minutes at any time of year. Sadly stories of children being left in hot cars have made headlines this summer-so much so that it’s being deemed as an “epidemic.”
  • Power accessories. Most are geared towards adults and can pose a serious threat to children if misused.
  • Locked in a trunk. If a trunk is left open or a child accidentally hits the button to open the trunk-it becomes easy for the child to climb in, close the trunk door and get stuck. Many trunks cannot be opened from the inside and are dark and airtight.
  • Back-over’s. Small children and rear bumpers are not visible from the driver’s seat. Always use caution when backing out of a driveway or parking space.
  • Runaway vehicles. Children love to play in cars and can very easily jump from the backseat to the front and release parking brakes or take an automatic transmission out of park

Here are a few basic safety precautions to take which increases the safety of children near vehicles:

  • Always keep car keys out of reach of children.
  • Lock your car when it is parked in the driveway of your home to prevent children from climbing in and getting locked in the vehicle without anyone knowing.
  • Educate your children about the dangers of a vehicle and that it is not a toy.
  • Create a habit of always checking the backseat to make sure there are no children or infants left behind.
  • Placing a diaper bag or a child’s toy in the front passenger seat can help serve as a reminder that there is a child in the car.
  • Plan your errands for a time when your children aren’t with you such as when they are with your spouse, while they are at school or daycare, or if you can arrange for someone to watch them.
  • Take advantage of drive-thru ATMs, dry cleaners, pharmacies, and other businesses.
  • If a child is missing immediately check the car and trunk.
  • If the child is still missing call 911 immediately.

Do not allow your child to become another statistic. Never leave unattended children in a car and always keep these safety tips in mind. If you see a child alone in a car, contact the police right away.