As School Year Begins, Warns Parents: Changes in Routine Can Cause Heat-Related Car Injuries

As School Year Begins, Warns Parents: Changes in Routine Can Cause Heat-Related Car Injuries

As School Year Begins, Warns Parents: Changes in Routine Can Cause Heat-Related Car Injuries

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — August 29, 2012 — With "Back to School" season now underway,, the premier resource for automotive information, advises parents to be extra vigilant about inadvertently leaving their children in a parked car. Experts say that altered daily routines that come with a new school year make parents especially vulnerable to forgetting their children in the back seat, sometimes with tragic consequences.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that an average of 38 children die each year from heat-related injuries after being trapped in a hot car, with about half of those deaths attributed to forgetful or stressed out parents or caregivers. And while heatstroke is a particular summertime danger, car interiors can get dangerously hot even when external temperatures are only in the 60s.

"Most parents will read these heartbreaking stories and think that it could never happen to them, but parents who have lost children would tell them otherwise," says Features Editor Carroll Lachnit. "Most families depend on set routines, and when that routine changes, memory lapses can occur for even the sharpest parents. So if you've spent all summer driving straight to work in the morning, you could easily forget that now you're supposed to drop your four-year-old at preschool on your way."

About a dozen electronic products designed to prevent in-vehicle heatstroke are now on the market, but researchers found that these devices were "inconsistent and unreliable in their performance." The research revealed that the products could interfere with other electronic devices, malfunction in the presence of liquids, or fail to sync after multiple attempts.

As developers work to iron out the kinks in these products, suggests a few other organic ways that parents can minimize the likelihood of leaving a child in the car.

  • Leave your child's stuffed animal in the front seat as a reminder that you're not alone in the car
  • Place something you need — like a cell phone — in the backseat
  • Make it a habit to open the back door of your vehicle every time you exit
  • Set up a double-check routine, such as telling your day care service that you will call if your child isn't attending and to call you if the child is absent and you have not called

Parents and caregivers can learn more about combating heatstroke deaths in cars at is committed to educating drivers about all car-related safety. Learn more these issues at

About, Inc. (, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site. Its acclaimed mobile site, Android App and five-star Edmunds iPhone and iPad apps make car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and on the go. Its automotive enthusiast web site,, is the most-read car publication of its kind. Its highly regarded mobile site and iPhone app features the wireless Web's most comprehensive gallery of automotive photos and videos. Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow on Twitter@edmunds and fan on Facebook.

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