Safe Kids of Virginia  

Education Information

Trunks are not a place for kidsWarm Weather Safety

Never Leave Your Child Alone!

Vehicles are dangerous for children for a number of reasons. Every year children are dying in and around vehicles due to strangulation in power windows and sunroofs, fire inside a vehicle, putting the vehicle into gear and setting it into motion, hyperthermia and even hypothermia.

According to General Motors research, since 1996 there have been 228 child fatalities in the United States due to children being left in vehicles or unintentionally gaining access into vehicles.

Often, but not always, do these fatalities occur during the hot summer months. According to the GM Safety Center, when the outside temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the air temperature inside a parked vehicle can climb to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in just 30 minutes.

Children die because their bodies are unable to dissipate heat as efficiently as an adult and their body temperature increases three to five times faster than an adult’s.

Never leave yoru child aloneTo prevent vehicle related death:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle, even with a window slightly open in the summer. During the cold months, children are just as likely to die due exposure to the cold.
  • If you see a small child who is unattended in a motor vehicle and in need of help, contact emergency services.
  • Always lock your vehicle — especially at home — and keep keys out of children’s reach.
  • Make sure all children leave the vehicle upon arrival at a destination.
  • Teach children not to play in, on or around vehicles.
  • Watch children closely around vehicles, especially when loading and unloading.
  • Talk to your vehicle dealer about safety devices that are available for your particular vehicle.

For more information review this website, visit Safe Kids Worldwide or contact your local Safe Kids coordinator.


Children's Hospital of Richmond
VCU Health System
Safe Kids Virginia
401 N. 12th Street
Richmond, Virginia 23298-5917
Phone: (804) 628-2077
Fax: (804) 827-1748
Updated 09/13/2012
Created by VCU University Relations