By Kristen Boxman
Amber Rollins with KidsAndCars.org says hot car deaths are lower than average for 2020. That's because parents are getting out less. When you get back to a normal routine, you should add a few steps to prevent hot car deaths.
1. Check the backseat every time. Get into the habit of looking in the back seat of the car every time you park before you walk away.
2. Leave something you need that morning in the back seat. Parents can flip into autopilot and drive to work without remembering the entire drive. Rollins says parents can make up a false memory that they dropped their kid off at daycare when they really did not. If you leave something like your laptop in the backseat, you will see if your child is there or not when you open the backdoor to get the laptop.
3. Lock your doors always - even if you don't have kids. About 25% of hot car deaths occur when kids get into cars and lock themselves in. Rollins says about 79% of those kids are boys 1-4. She says they're fascinated with cars and want to pretend to drive. Everyone needs to keep their car locked to prevent kids in the area from getting in. "Heaven forbid if a child does go missing, just like you would check the pool or a lake nearby immediately, you want to check the inside floorboards and trunk of all cars in the area immediately, even if they're locked," Rollins says.
4. Store keys out of reach of children. Because children like to play in cars, Rollins says parents should store keys and key fobs in a place kids can't find them.
5. You can help a child locked in a hot car. The Good Samaritan law in Kansas says you won't be held liable for damage if you break a window in good faith to save a person or pet inside of a hot car. Rollins says first call 911 then break the window farthest away from the person or animal. "It is your business. Get involved. Call 911 immediately," Rollins says. "If that child appears to be in distress, you need to break the window and get them out. Literally minutes could be the difference between surviving, having severe brain damage, and death."