It can happen to anyone. A change in routine, running late or simply being preoccupied with daily tasks—all may lead to a child being inadvertently locked in a vehicle.

For the child locked inside, it’s a slip of the mind that can lead to serious health issues during extreme temperatures, including death.

Startling statistics

As a nation, we experienced too many deaths last year that could have been prevented. According to, a public safety awareness website for child safety around automobiles:

  • On average, 38 children die in hot cars each year from heat-related deaths  

  • In 2014 there were 31 heatstroke deaths of children in cars in the U.S.

  • The total number of U.S. heatstroke deaths of children left in cars from 1990 to 2013 is 717

Stay smart

To prevent locking children in automobiles, consider:

  • Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in the garage or driveway

  • Put something you'll need—like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or briefcase—on the floorboard in the back seat

  • Keep a large stuffed animal or favorite toy in the child's car seat when it’s not occupied. When the child is placed in the seat, put the stuffed animal or toy in the front passenger seat. It's a visual reminder that anytime the stuffed animal or toy is up front you know the child is in the back seat in a child safety seat.