Kids and Hot Cars

The heat across the South is oppressive.  Temperatures have soared into the 90s (and above), and as far as I can tell will continue to do so for the remainder of July.

Although temperatures outside are often in the 90s, temperatures inside your car climb well into the triple digits quickly.  It disheartens me to read about the Georgia father who forgot to drop his 22-month old little boy, Cooper Harris, off at daycare.  According to USA today, Cooper Harris was the 13th child in the U.S. this year, and the sixth this month, to perish after being left in a car.

I wrote about this very issue last year on my blog but feel it needs repeating.  Below are two very easy ways to help you remember your child is in the back seat of your vehicle:

  • Put a stuffed animal in the seat beside you.  When you reach your destination and see the stuffed animal you’ll know to check on your child in the backseat.
  • Put your purse, cell phone or briefcase in the backseat next to your child’s seat.  When you reach your destination you’ll have to reach into the back to get your items.
  • put a daily alarm/reminder on your calendar or phone to make sure you didn’t forget about a child in the back seat.

I highly recommend that you visit the website of the organization Kids and Cars at for valuable safety information about kids in and around cars.


Dangers of Hot Cars: Another Child Dies in Georgia

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported today that a 2 year old child died after being left in a van at a day care center in Atlanta.  The article by  Alexis Stevens and Fran Jeffries also mentions that since 1998, there have been 509 deaths involving this sort of vehicular hyperthermia, also known as heat stroke.

Normally we think of the danger associated with vehicle collisions on the roadways, but this sad case is a reminder that there are plenty of dangers other than roadway wrecks involving cars, including backovers, heat strokes, and children being trapped in trunks without trunk release mechanisms.

An organization called kidsandcars is doing great work to protect our children from these sorts of dangers.  Their website – – is a wonderful site to get information about these dangers and what we can do to protect our children from them.

As one example of a way to help remember that a child is in the back seat of a vehicle, one recent article recommends that a parent put a stuffed animal in the front seat as a visual reminder that their child is in the back seat.   There are many, many more things we can do to avoid the needless deaths and injuries from hot cars and other dangers associated with vehicles.

Please take a moment to visit these websites and read these articles to learn how to prevent your children from becoming victims of these dangerous conditions in cars.

Safety in Rental Cars

  Rent_sign  If you travel much, then you have probably rented a car.  Usually, when you rent a car, you assume that the car has been properly maintained and that if the car has been recalled for a safety problem, the rental company has had the safety problem fixed.  It turns out, according to the Center for Justice and Democracy, that we can’t assume car rental companies are heeding safety recalls.

      In their blog at, the Center reports on the case of two sisters who died after the Chrysler PT Cruiser they rented from Enterprise burst into flames.  The vehicle had been subject to a recall for a leak of power steering fluid that could cause fires. 

      A reporter for the New York Times, Christopher Jensen, has reported on these rental car dangers, and one of his recent articles can be found here.  

      Now for the soapbox:  those who advocate for laws making it tougher to take companies to court fall silent about these kinds of cases, which expose the ugly truth that profit matters more than people to many of our nation’s largest companies.  And reporters, other than a few like Jensen, seem to sit idly by while our courts are relentlessly attacked by corporations and their allied interest groups.  When will they wake up to this assault on civil justice?