Skip to content
First Things First First Things First

First Things Blog

Information and inspiration for parents and caregivers of babies, toddlers and preschoolers

Keep children safe from the danger of hot cars

Keep kids safe from danger of hot cars

There’s more to keeping your child safe while you drive than having the proper car seat. As temperatures in Arizona heat up, it’s important to understand the lethal danger of leaving a child inside a locked car.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), heatstroke is one of the leading causes of non-crash-related fatalities among children. In 2018, 51 children died of heatstroke in hot cars across the United States.

The inside of a vehicle can heat up to dangerous levels very quickly — more than 20 degrees in just ten minutes — and not just on a hot Arizona day. Even at an outside temperature of 60 degrees, the interior of a car can reach 110 degrees.

Look Before You Lock

To avoid the potentially-tragic consequences of accidentally leaving a child in a hot car, the NHTSA offers the following recommendations:

  • Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended.
  • Cracking a window does not protect your child.
  • Make it a habit to always check the back seats of your vehicle before your lock it and walk away. Every time.
  • Try keeping a stuffed animal or other noticeable object in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder that your child is riding in the back. Make it part of your routine.
  • If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.

Here’s what do to do if you see a child left alone in a car:

If the child is not responsive or in distress:

  • Call 911.
  • Get the child out of the car.
  • Spray the child with cool water (not in an ice bath).

If the child is responsive:

  • Stay with the child until help arrives.
  • Have someone else search for the driver or ask the facility to page them.

Nicoletta Kennedy, senior director of marketing and strategic initiatives, brings a wealth of experience from her background in government and nonprofit sectors, where she has passionately championed the health and early education of young children and their parents in Arizona. Reach out to her at

Stay Up To Date.

Join our email list to keep up with the latest news and information from FTF

Send me:

© First Things First. All Rights Reserved. • Privacy PolicyAccessibilityWebsite FeedbackOmbudsman-Citizens Aide