Keep Kids Safe In Cars

In our September issue, out now, we’ve got a story I hope everyone will read. It’s called “The Car Accidents You Don’t Think About” and it’s about the all-too-common occurrences like vehicles rolling over children, power windows that shut on their hands or even necks, cars that can be shifted into gear by a child. The story tells you how to avoid these mistakes, whether that involves technological gadgets (like sensors and cameras to let you know you’re about to hit something or someone) or plain old common sense.

Our story also addresses an issue that is particularly awful to think about. Every year, loving, caring, responsible parents like you and me accidentally leave their child in a hot car for hours. In many cases, the parent (or caregiver) completely forgets that he or she hasn’t dropped their child at day care, and the parent goes on with their day. The child almost always suffers heat stroke (or hyperthermia), and dies. You may not understand how this could possibly happen. I’ve had conversations with parents who believe it would never happen to them, and I get that. But every year, it happens to close to 40 families in the United States. When we started reporting this story in the spring, four children had already died in 2010 from hyperthermia. As of right now, 29 children have died. (This site tracks these deaths; if you’re so inclined, you can click on the map to learn exactly what happened in each case.)

There’s one simple way to prevent this particular tragedy: Keep your cell phone, or your purse or briefcase, or your work I.D. (or all three) in the back seat. This way you’ll never leave your car without checking there first.

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