Every year, news headlines tell of another hot car death, usually a child or elderly individual left unattended while the driver is away. These stories are tragic—naturally we all assume that it could never happen to us.
However, hot car fatalities are far more common than you might think. And while you might assume that carelessness is to blame, the truth is a little more complicated than that.
Hot car fatality statistics
Consumer Reportsrecently released a shocking story that uncovers just how common hot car fatalities are. The article noted that since 1998, close to 900 Americans have died from being left in a car on a sunny day.
The number one reason for these deaths is linked to chronic stress in adults. Our hectic modern lives can whittle away at our cognitive skills—especially those areas of the brain related to memory. The lack of stress management for American adults is contributing to an average of 38 child vehicular heat stroke deaths per year.
Parents or caregivers have too much on their minds, causing them simply to forget about the children or elderly passengers in the back of their cars.
While most people realize their mistake quickly, it doesn’t take long for a parked car to become dangerously hot. Studies show cabin temperatures can quickly reach 120°F, even if it’s only 70°F outside.
Avoiding hot car fatalities
It’s important that drivers responsible for transporting children and the elderly keep their vehicle running, with the air conditioning at a comfortable level. Cabin temperatures in a vehicle can reach 120°F within minutes—even if it’s only 70°F outside.
Park in the shade, underneath a tree or other covered area. This provides your car shelter from the sun’s hot rays. It will protect your passengers and your paint job.
Place your purse or cell phone next to your occupants. This will force you to physically consider their presence in the vehicle, before you lock up and wander away.
Be sure to have your air conditioning inspected before the hot weather arrives each year, and
keep engine fluid levels properly stocked.
Make sure that yourself, and your passengers, stay hydrated when venturing out in the heat.
Hot car deaths are avoidable
While we like to assume that something as terrible as a hot car death could never happen to our loved ones, the reality is that 38 children die each year due to this.
However, these accidents aren’t inevitable. Follow the safety steps outlined above and keep your occupants safe, no matter the weather.