Don’t forget to check the backseat

Published 1:58 pm Tuesday, June 26, 2018

In Seminole County, Florida — which is just north of Orlando — sheriff’s deputy Bill Dunn recently helped save a 3-year-old’s life. The deputy found a little girl unresponsive in the backseat of a vehicle after being locked in the car overnight.

He made the decision to take the child straight to the hospital, and she has since made a full recovery.

He’s calling it a miracle. Unfortunately, most of these cases don’t have a happy ending.

Every day there are multiple cases of children being left in hot cars.

According to, an organization that focuses on raising awareness and educating the public about non-traffic incidents that lead to serious health and safety issues, there were 36 child vehicular heatstroke fatalities in Georgia from 1990-2017. Georgia is one of 15 states that had more than 20 deaths in that time.  There have already been 18 deaths in the U.S. attributed to child vehicular heatstrokes in 2018.

According to, there have been a total of 836 deaths nationwide related to heatstroke in children 14 since 1990.

The website notes that the total number is likely to be much higher, due to a lack of a collaborative system to track the deaths.

It only takes a few minutes for the temperature inside a car to reach over 100 degrees, especially in the heat of summer. It also only takes a couple of minutes for a child to begin to shut down in the car.

Parents are busy, and as humans, we’ve all dealt with a situation where we were thrown off our morning routine by a surprise phone call or something unexpected taking place. Most of the cases where children die in hot cars are complete accidents.

The boss calls about a report needed quickly or you’ve got to make an extra stop on the way to the office and suddenly your whole morning plan is out the window.

For parents, it’s terrifying to think about something like this happening. Thankfully, there are many ways to help avoid it.

The easiest way is to put something important — something you’ll always need to get out of the car — in the backseat with the child. That can be a cell phone, purse or some other valuable. 

In other cases, children open car doors and lock themselves into a vehicle and can’t figure out how to get out. recommends keeping car keys out of the reach of children and to check vehicles and car trunks immediately if a child is missing.

These deaths are completely preventable, but it seems like they happen more and more every day.

Hopefully through education and awareness, the numbers will decline in future years.