Protect Children from Being Left Behind in Vehicles During Extreme Heat

News Release
For Immediate Release: 9/1/2023

Allan Urlis, APR, Department of Health and Human Services, (402) 432-1532,

(LINCOLN, NE) – The onset of another heat wave combined with the tragic event that occurred recently underscores the importance of taking action to prevent the same thing from happening again.

Nineteen children have died in hot cars nationwide this year, and since 1990, four children have died in hot cars in Nebraska. 

More than 1,050 children have died in hot cars nationwide since 1990 and at least another 7,300 survived with varying types and severities of injuries, according to data collected by Kids and Car Safety. Approximately 87 percent of children who die in hot cars are three-years old or younger, and more than half were left behind by parents or caregivers. Twelve percent were left by a childcare provider.

Safety Tips for Parents and Caregivers

Create simple habits to help keep your child safe:

  • Make sure your child is never left alone in a car:
  • Place the child's diaper bag or item in the front passenger seat as a visual cue that the child is with you.
  • Make it a habit of opening the back door every time you park to ensure no one is left behind. To enforce this habit, place an item that you can't start your day without in the back seat (employee badge, laptop, phone, handbag, etc.)
  • Ask your childcare provider to call you right away if your child hasn't arrived as scheduled. 
  • Clearly announce and confirm who is getting each child out of the vehicle. Miscommunication can lead to thinking someone else removed the child.

Make sure children cannot get into a parked car:

  • Always keep vehicles locked, especially in the garage or driveway. Ask neighbors and visitors to do the same.
  • Never leave car keys within reach of children.
  • Use childproofing knob covers and door alarms to prevent children from exiting your home unnoticed.
  • Teach children to honk the horn or turn on hazard lights if they become stuck inside a car.
  • If a child is missing, immediately check the inside, floorboards and trunk of all vehicles in the area carefully, even if they're locked.

Hot Car Resources:

For more information, visit

See three new public service videos informing parents, grandparents, relatives and caregivers about preventing these preventable tragedies.

What To Do if You See a Child Alone in a Vehicle

Child gets into hot car, becomes trapped

Child Unknowingly Left in a Hot Car

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