Never Leave a Child Alone in a Car, Even on Mild Days

As a reminder, you must be at least 16 years of age to enter the yard at Pull-A-Part. Please, never leave your children unattended in the parking lot.

Did you know that, even on a mild day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise as much as 20 degrees in as little as ten minutes — even with the windows cracked?

Heat stroke isn’t a phenomenon unique to Texas. So far in 2016, heat stroke statistics have shown 16 children from Iowa to New York have succumbed to heat stroke on days as mild as 71 degrees — and in one case, on a 52-degree day in Georgia. Kids’ bodies trap and retain heat three to five times faster than adults, and can’t cool off as efficiently. A quick in-and-out stop at a convenience store can easily become dangerous for kids left alone — but still, one recent study found that 14 percent of parents have left their children alone in parked vehicles, even though many thought they understood the risks.

San Jose State University climate scientist Jan Null researches heat-related vehicle dangers in an effort to end the sad tragedy of children left alone in hot cars. Her website,, offers the following tips to prevent hot-car related heat strokes of children:

  • Never leave a child alone in a car — not even for a quick moment.
  • If you see an unattended child in a vehicle, call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Double-check the backseat before leaving your car to ensure everyone has exited.
  • Lock your car to make sure kids won’t accidentally play in it and lock themselves inside.

Busy parents sometimes simply forget that their children are sleeping in the backseat, especially in the event of a change to their daily routine. For that reason, Null recommends placing an item of importance such as a handbag or cell phone inside the child’s carseat. Daycare centers should be instructed to call or check in if a child doesn’t show up as scheduled. Should a child go missing, always check the swimming pool — then, go straight to the car, and don’t forget to check the trunk.

Have a conversation with a fellow parent or driver about the dangers of leaving children alone in vehicles, even on a mild or overcast day. Bust the myth that a cracked window will help: it doesn’t. Make it a habit to double-check your car before leaving it for the day. Together, we can continue the downward trend of heat-related tragedies among children left in hot cars.


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