As you have likely heard in the news, the problem of children dying in hot cars is continuing this year. I am writing to you to seek your help in reducing these completely preventable tragedies.

In light of the devastating outcomes of these incidents – 53 children died in hot cars in 2018 (the most ever recorded), and already we’ve lost over 40 so far in 2019 – the Department has prioritized the problem, formally known as pediatric vehicular heatstroke, to ensure the safety of the nation’s children.

Consider these alarming fact

  • Summertime is the peak season for these tragic incidents, but heatstroke can occur in outdoor temperatures as low as 57 degrees;
  • In the span of 10 minutes, a car can heat up by 20 degrees, enough to kill a child left alone in the vehicle;
  • A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s; and
  • Children are at a higher risk than adults of dying from heatstroke in a hot vehicle, particularly when they are too young to alert others for help.

Raising public awareness is part of the solution, to that end, the Department has promoted our “Where’s Baby” and “Look Before You Lock” campaigns. The program includes a host of creative and informative reminders designed to ensure that child passengers are not left behind in the car by parents and caregivers, and that children cannot gain unsupervised access to motor vehicles. In the coming months and throughout the year, we will continue to disseminate our pediatric vehicular heatstroke messages since these tragic incidents can occur at any time.