By: Alison De Villiers

As summer heats up, it is even more important to make sure that children are not left behind in the backseat of vehicles. Each year, too many children die in the backseat of cars because their parents forget that they are there and go about their days. When it is only 70 degrees outside, it can be more than 125 degrees inside a closed vehicle. Even the best parents and caregivers unknowingly leave children in vehicles resulting in over 650 known heatstroke deaths to date. They often occur when parents become distracted or vary from their typical routines. The following safety tips can help you prevent vehicular heatstroke deaths:

  • Always place an item (purse, bag, etc.) in the backseat so that you have to open the door every time you leave the vehicle.
  • Ask your babysitter or child care provider to call you within 10 minutes if your child has not arrived on time.
  • Make a habit of opening your back door every time you reach your destination regardless of whether or not a child is in the car.
  • Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat when it is not occupied. When the child is in the seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. This is a visual reminder that anytime the stuffed animal is in the front seat, you know the child is in the backseat.
  • Avoid distractions at all times, including talking on the phone, particularly when you are exiting your vehicle and have arrived at your destination.

Any parent can make this deadly mistake. However, incorporating these habits into your daily routine can help prevent these tragedies. You can also visit for support and information on preventing children from being left behind in vehicles.