Car Safety: Always Check For Baby and Pets

You should never leave your child or pet in the car. There is no good excuse and even if you think you aren't going to be gone long, your child or pet could be in danger within minutes or you could get delayed and minutes can turn into hours.

The temperature outside will not match the temperature inside your car so you may think it is "cool" enough to leave your child, but it is not.

"In 10 minutes a car can heat up by 20 degrees. Even on a mild day the temperature inside a vehicle can hit 110 degrees. If a child’s body temperature reaches 107 degrees, that child will die." (source)

This tragedy is more common than you think:

"On average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle. In more than half of these deaths, the caregiver forgot the child was in the car." (source)

Here is the total death count since 1998 and you can see how many died per year:

"735 children left in vehicles have died of heatstroke since 1998." (source)
However, the sad thing is most of these were accidental: 54% were forgotten and 28% of these deaths were due to a child playing in a car unattended (source).

Right now I bet some of you are screaming "How could you forget your child?" For those who don't have kids yet, this may seem impossible, and for those who have babies, they also would probably like to believe that they could never forget their little one, but the sad truth is, if you are human, you can forget. 

Have you ever locked yourself out of your car? Forgot your wallet? Forgot your phone? Couldn't find your keys? Forgot to buy something at the store? Forgot someone's birthday or another important event? Couldn't find your glasses? Forgot to do a homework assignment or study for a test?

If you said yes to any of the above, then you can forget your child or pet. 

In most of these cases, the caregiver of the child forgot because of a routine change. Aaron Gouveia writes about his close-call in this Time article. If he hadn't gone back for the shopping list, his son may not be alive to this day. 


Instead of claiming these parents are horrible people or claim they did it on purpose because how could anyone forget a child, we should change our thinking to "how do we prevent this?" If you think you could never forget your child, then the sad thing is, you are more likely to forget because you think you are immune. It's like people who don't get the flu shot because they never get the flu, and then their luck runs out and they end up sick. 

You are not immune. This could happen to you. This could happen to me. So how do we prevent ourselves from forgetting our child? It's simple. ALWAYS LOOK.

Ever since having my baby, I have gotten into the habit of checking the backseat each and every time I leave my car. It doesn't matter if I know she isn't with me, because the moment I stop, is the moment this tragedy could happen to me.


Another tip is to put something in the backseat that is important you, that you will need. I, personally, don't like this tip because people have been known to forget their phones, wallets or purses, or whatever important item you may need so you could end up forgetting both things! 

If you usually drop your child off at childcare, have them call you if you happen to not arrive when you usually do. Parents can forget to drop off children when they are in a hurry for work and then end up heading into their work building while their child is still in the car. Having your provider call to check in with you will help eliminate this risk!

To prevent your child from getting into a car without your knowledge, always keep your car locked and keep your keys out of their reach. 

Also, if you ever see a child alone in a car, ACT! Call 911. Many states also have Good Samaritan laws that will protect you, which you can find them here


It's not just children, pets are too often forgotten as well and more likely to be purposely left in the car. Just like children, your dog, cat, or any other pet, you decide to travel with, could get heatstroke and die. Cracking the window does little to nothing to prevent your car from overheating (source).

Many states actually have laws against leaving animals in a parked vehicle, which you can find here. Many of these states will also allow you to rescue the animal without penalty, but even so, always call 911 before you attempt to break into any vehicle.

It's also not just heat stroke that is a problem, but leaving your child or pet in the car in the winter is deadly as well. They could die from hypothermia.

"Infants and young children develop hypothermia more easily than older children and adult, so there is a very real risk of hypothermia when they are left unattended in cars in cold weather." (source)

And if you leave your car running, then they run the risk of dying from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:

"Children are more susceptible to CO poisoning, and neither children nor adults can smell CO. Parents may not even notice that their children are suffering from CO poisoning until it is too late, thinking that it is just normal sleep. Better to take your child out in the most bitter winter weather than run the risk of CO poisoning." (source)

In general, just leaving your child alone in a car is dangerous as someone could kidnap them. You are basically either risking your child's life or risking the chance of ever seeing your child again every time you leave your child in the car. This more so applies to the small percentage of people who do purposely leave their kids in their vehicle.

The majority simply just forget, and live the rest of their lives feeling guilty. Like many, they probably thought they could never forget their child, only to find that they did. Let's stop shaming parents and pretending we are immune to Forgotten Baby Syndrome, and instead all do our part and LOOK before we get out of our cars.