AUTOMOTIVE OVEN: Never leave children in hot cars

It only takes 10 minutes for the temperature in a car to increase 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and cracking a window open and parking in the shade are not sufficient safeguards. No children were neglected or harmed while taking this U.S. Air Force file photo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cody H. Ramirez)

By the USAG Ansbach Installation Safety Office

ANSBACH, Germany (May 31, 2017) – More than 36 children die in overheated cars every year in the United States. Since 1998 there have been more than 600 deaths.

Here are some tips to keep in mind from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

  • It takes 10 minutes for the temperature in a car to go up 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cracking a window open and parking in the shade aren’t sufficient safeguards.
  • A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s. A child dies with a 107 degree body temperature.
  • Even if it’s in the 60s outside, your car can still heat up to well above 110 degrees.
  • On an 80-degree day, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach deadly peaks in 10 minutes.

More than half of those who left children alone in vehicles did so unknowingly.  Other reasons cited: the child got into the vehicle on his or her own (32 percent), child was knowingly left in vehicle (12 percent) and circumstance unknown (2 percent).

Set Reminders!

Any parent or caregiver, even a very loving and attentive one, can forget a child is in the back seat. Being especially busy or distracted or having a change from the usual routine increases the risk. Here are some things you can do to prevent the unthinkable from happening to your child:

  • Always check the back seat and make sure children are out of the car before locking it and walking away.
  • Avoid distractions while driving, especially cellphone use.
  • Be extra alert when there is a change in your routine, like when someone else is driving your child or you take a different route to work or child care.
  • Have your child care provider call if your child is more than 10 minutes late.
  • Put your phone/bag/purse in the back seat, so you check the back seat when arriving at your destination.
  • If someone else is driving your child, always check to make sure they arrived safely.

Lock Your Car!

Keep your car locked when it is parked to prevent a curious child from entering when no one is around. Many hot car deaths have occurred when a child mistakenly locks himself inside. Reminders for parents and caregivers:

  • Make sure children do not have easy access to your car keys. Store them out of a child’s reach.
  • Teach children that cars are not safe places to play.
  • Keep rear fold-down seats closed to prevent a child from crawling into the trunk from inside the car.
  • Remind children that cars, especially car trunks, should not be used for games like hide-and-seek.
  • Important Tip: If a child is missing, always check the pool first, and then the car, including the trunk!
  • Take Action if You See a Child Alone in a Car!


Leave your pet at home on warm days. Bring plenty of fresh drinking water and bowl if they must travel.

Protecting children is everyone’s business! Per Lt. Col. Ryan Dickerson, director of Emergency Services, if you see an unattended child in a vehicle, immediately notify 110/112!


Need more information?  Call your Installation Safety Office at 0981-183-1670 or DSN 468-1670. Also, visit their web page at To see more safety-related stories, visit

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