According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a child dies from heatstroke about once every 10 days from being left alone in a hot vehicle, and heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle fatalities for kids 14 and younger.
A study from one source cited an examination of media reports about the 561 child vehicular heatstroke deaths for a 13-year period (1998 through 2012) showing the following circumstances:
•51 percent of deaths (288 children) were from children "forgotten" by caregivers
•29 percent of deaths (163 children) were playing in unattended vehicles
•18 percent of deaths (101 children) were intentionally left in vehicle by adult
•2 percent (9 children) the circumstances are unknown
Tips for remembering the child include putting a stuffed animal in the car seat and moving it to the front when the baby is in the car seat, putting items necessary for the upcoming activity in the backseat next to the child or even removing your shoes and placing them in the backseat with the child.
Sumiton’s Assistant Police Chief Scott Karr said that the majority of the calls they receive are from parents who have gotten out of the front seat and then tried to remove the child from the back, only to realize that they have locked the door with the keys inside.
In those situations, as well as if a passerby sees a child in an unattended vehicle, Karr recommends remaining calm, calling 911 and telling the dispatcher the situation. Local first responders have tools to enable them to enter the car and they will respond to the scene as quickly as possible. Stay with the car and keep the child in sight until help arrives. “We will rescue the child using whatever means are necessary,” Karr said. “And then, if there is a need, we can open an investigation into the situation.”