Safety Around Vehicles
Non-traffic related vehicle incidents are incidents that occur in places other than a public highway, street, or road. These incidents occur in driveways, parking lots, or off-road locations and may involve bicyclists, pedestrians, non-moving vehicles, or vehicles backing up.
During July 2000–June, 2001, an estimated 78 fatal injuries occurred among children less than 14 years
who were left unattended in or around motor vehicles that were not in traffic.
From 2001 to 2003 approximately 7,475 children (2,492 per year) aged 1 to14 years were treated for nonfatal
motor vehicle backover injuries in emergency departments.
- Nearly 50 percent of the children injured in backover incidents were 1 to 4 years old; 55 percent were
- Most backovers occurred at either home or in driveways or parking lots; 47 percent occurred at home, and 40 percent occurred in driveways or parking lots.
From 1998-2007, 339 hyperthermia deaths have been reported as a result of a child being left in a hot vehicle,
an average of 34 a year.
- Each year, an average of 36 children dies from hyperthermia after being left unattended in a vehicle.
- Since March 17th to September 4th, 2007, there have been at least 26 hyperthermia deaths of children
who were left in a hot vehicle. Ages of the children ranged from 3 months to 8 years old.
- A child’s body does not have the same internal temperature control as an adult’s, and can warm three times to five times faster. Heatstroke occurs when the body core temperature reaches 104 degrees F, and a body core temperature of 107 degrees F is usually fatal.
- Within 10 minutes, the inside temperature of a vehicle will be almost 20 degrees hotter than the outside
temperature, after 30 minutes the vehicle’s temperature will be 34 degrees hotter.
Nine incidents of fatal car trunk entrapments were reported from 1987 to 1998, resulting in 19 deaths to
children less than 7 years of age. All of the incidents occurred in hot weather.
Laws and Regulations
Only 14 states have laws prohibiting leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. Penalties for leaving children range from noncriminal traffic infractions to second-degree manslaughter charges if the child dies as a result from being left alone in the car.