news & perspectives

news & perspectives

campaign warns public of hazards of children unattended in and around vehicles


BOSTON  (May 21, 2014) –  With the approach of Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer, the Children‘s Trust, the state’s leading family support organization, is working with the Retailers Association of Massachusetts to remind the public that children unattended in cars during warm weather are at greater risk of dehydration, hyperthermia, heat stroke, and even death.

The public awareness campaign, “Not Even for A Minute,” provides posters and flyers to childcare centers, retailers, medical facilities, and other locations throughout Massachusetts.

On average 38 kids die each year nationwide because they were left in hot cars.

Heat builds up rapidly in a vehicle, even with windows slightly rolled down. On a 70-degree day, the temperature inside a closed car can exceed 90 degrees in 10 minutes, according to the National Weather Service.

A child’s body heats up three to five times as quickly as an adult’s. If a child’s body temperature exceeds 104 degrees, heat stroke can cause delirium, convulsions, coma and death, according to Pediatrics magazine.

“Adults should never leave a child unattended in or around a car,” said Suzin Bartley, executive director of the Children’s Trust.  “In addition to heat-related illnesses, there are always risks of injury, abduction or setting the vehicle in motion.”

Bartley said the public can help by calling 911 when they see a child left in a car or by contacting security officials at a mall or other location.

“We’re happy to partner with the Children’s Trust on such an important safety issue and hope our members join in spreading this important message,” said Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.

The Children’s Trust recommends that parents follow these tips to protect children:

Never leave infants or children in a parked car, even for a quick errand and even if the windows are cracked open.
Teach children not to play in any vehicles.
Always lock your car, even at home, and remind friends and neighbors to do the same.
Always put keys in a safe place, out of the reach of young children.
The risks of forgetting a child in a car are real. Place a cell phone, bag or whatever is to be carried from the car on the floor of the backseat to serve as an additional reason to check that area. Set a reminder on your phone or calendar asking, “Did you drop off at daycare today?”

Materials are available by contacting the Children’s Trust at

Also, parents can visit, the Children’s Trust’s parenting tips website, for more information about preventing non-traffic motor vehicle injuries to children.

more information about the children’s trust

The Children’s Trust is Massachusetts’ leading family support organization. We strengthen the Commonwealth by funding and managing parenting support programs designed to help families raise physically and emotionally healthy children. For more information, visit