Kids & Family

Will Anyone Notice This Baby In A Hot Car?

It's over 100 degrees in this car. How long will it take for anyone to notice the baby inside?

What would you do if you saw a screaming baby left all alone in a hot car? Would you call the police, or go so far as to smash out the window? A new law in Pennsylvania actually lets you do that. To find out how people would react, we setup a sidewalk experiment using a very life-like baby on a busy street. Here's how it all played out.

It's hard to believe that more than eight hundred children have died in hot cars in the last decade but it's true. While technology advances may be part of the solution it's not the only one.

There are several resources out there offering suggestions, tips, and tools to help parents and caregivers remember precious cargo in their backseats.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Everyone Can Help Prevent Hot Car Deaths:

Parents and Caregivers:

  1. Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended - even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running, and the air conditioning is on.
  2. Make it a habit to check your entire vehicle - front and back - before locking the door and walking away.
  3. Ask your childcare provider to call if your child doesn't show up for care as expected.
  4. Place a personal item like a purse or briefcase in the back seat, as another reminder to look before you lock.
  5. Write a note or place a stuffed animal in the passenger's seat to remind you that a child is in the back seat.

Everyone - Including Bystanders

  1. If you see a child alone in a locked car, get them out immediately and call 911. A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.
  2. Always lock your car doors and trunk, year-round, so children can't get into unattended vehicles.
  3. Store car keys out of a child's reach and teach children that a vehicle is not a play area.

National Safety Council

Children In Hot Cars

  1. NSC advises parents and caregivers to stick to a routine and avoid distractions to reduce the risk of forgetting a child.
  2. Place a purse, briefcase or even a left shoe in the back seat to force you to take one last look before walking away.
  3. Keep car doors locked so children cannot gain access, and teach them that cars are not play areas.
  4. There is no safe time to leave a child in a vehicle, even if you are just running a quick errand.

Free Resources to Print and Share:

Special note: We coordinated our story with the Mount Lebanon, PA Police Department and Allegheny County Emergency Services to make sure there were not erroneous calls for help. Thanks to both departments for the assistance.

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