Cars Stolen with Children Alone Inside

Public Service Announcement

In 2022, Kids and Car Safety documented at least 264 children who were left alone inside a vehicle that was stolen with them alone in the back seat. Kids and Car Safety is the only group that is tracking these cases nationwide.

Contrary to what many might believe, children taken during a car theft is not a rare occurrence. And, it happens in even the safest of neighborhoods. Cars are often stolen from gas stations and convenience store parking lots as well as from home driveways. 

Although the victims of these types of incidents typically survive, it is incredibly traumatizing for everyone involved. Can you even imagine having someone take off with your child in tow?

Thieves watch for vehicles to be left unattended with the keys inside. Most of the time, they don’t even realize that there is a child inside until after they have already stolen the vehicle. What usually happens next is the children are abandoned on the side of the road or inside the stolen vehicle.

Tips for parents:

  1. Never leave a child of any age or pet alone in a vehicle, not even for a minute.
  2. Use drive-thru or curbside pickup so you don’t have to leave your vehicle.
  3. If a business doesn’t offer curbside delivery, call upon arrival and ask them to bring your order to your car. Most people are more than happy to accommodate you when you tell them you have small children. It takes a village!
  4. Keep car doors locked and keys on you when pumping gas with children inside the vehicle.


Incidents like this are very easily avoidable and a serious misuse of precious law enforcement resources. A recent report out of Tennessee estimated that the search for a child who was taken in a stolen vehicle cost over $71,000 in tax payer dollars. (read article)

Children and pets should never be left alone inside of a vehicle, not even for a minute. It only takes a few seconds for a car thief to jump into a vehicle and be gone. Remember, car thefts happen even in the safest neighborhoods. 

Drivers should never warm their vehicles up in the driveway with the keys inside. These are crimes of opportunity. Some states have regulations that make idling a vehicle unattended against the law. Learn more.

Posted on Wednesday, March 6th, 2019 at 7:22 pm in category Latest News, Other Dangers