Dear Friend,

If you have little ones in your life that you care about, I want you to pay close attention to today’s blog.  This summer, let’s talk about saving lives. In Virginia alone, over 1,000 children have tragically died in hot cars over the past 30 years. That’s one child every ten days. Let that sink in, and then act as a call to action. We need to work together to make sure this stops happening.

You may be thinking, ‘I would never let this happen.’  Or ‘my daughter is a responsible parent who would never put my grandchild at risk.’  But the truth is, good, well-meaning parents who fiercely love their children, methodically measure their medicine, insist on the best car seats, and keep an eye on their little ones all night long with sophisticated baby monitors are often the ones filled with despair and regret planning a funeral and facing charges of child neglect and endangerment after realizing far too late they made a fatal and tragic mistake.

Picture this: you’re running errands, juggling a million things, your normal routine gets slightly disrupted, and you forget your child in the backseat. Distractions, stress, fatigue—these are all parts of daily life that can lead to tragic mistakes. Within just ten minutes, the temperature inside your car can skyrocket by 20 degrees. It doesn’t take long for that to become a deadly situation for a child.

Let’s break it down:

  1. Routine is your enemy: Disruptions or fatigue can make you forgetful. It’s not just you; it happens to many. You might think you’d never forget your child, but the reality is that our brains can betray us when we’re exhausted, or our routines are disrupted. Even the best parents can have a lapse in memory. This isn’t about pointing fingers; it’s about acknowledging that it can happen to anyone.
  2. Simple steps save lives: Use tools like brightly colored rearview mirror hangtags from Babyin Babyout. These small reminders can make a huge difference. Place a tag on your rearview mirror as a visual cue to check the backseat every time you leave your vehicle. This small step can prevent a tragedy.
  3. Stay aware: Always check the backseat before you lock your car. Make it a habit. If a little one is in the back seat, leave your purse, shoes, or, better yet, your cell phone in the back seat. Get into the routine of opening the back door every time you park. This will force you to check the backseat and make sure your child stays safe.

Remember, May through September are the peak months for these incidents. The summer heat can turn your car into an oven in minutes. Even if it doesn’t feel that hot outside, your car’s interior can reach deadly temperatures very quickly. Don’t let a moment of forgetfulness turn into a lifetime of regret. Your child’s safety is in your hands.

Here’s another crucial point: Educate those around you. Share this information with family, friends, and anyone who might transport children. The more people who are aware, the fewer tragedies we’ll see. Talk to your childcare providers, babysitters, and grandparents about the risks and the importance of always checking the backseat.

Community awareness can make a significant difference. Advocate for policies and technologies that help prevent these tragedies. Many newer cars come equipped with rear-seat reminder systems. If your car doesn’t have this feature, consider investing in an aftermarket product that serves the same purpose. Encourage your local schools and community centers to spread the word about hot car safety.

Never assume that a quick errand is safe. Never leave your child in the car, even if you think you’ll be just a minute. The temperature can rise dangerously in the time it takes to run into the store. It’s not worth the risk. Always take your child with you, no matter how short the trip.

Let’s commit to making this summer safe for all children. By staying vigilant and using these simple strategies, you can help prevent hot car deaths. Let’s make sure no more children are lost to this preventable tragedy. Your child’s life is precious, and a few moments of caution can ensure their safety.

Until next time, please be safe out there, check your back seats, and never text while driving.


Paul Samakow

Attorney Paul Samakow

703-761-4343 or 301-949-1515

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