On Wednesday, a Kansas Bureau of Investigation Amber Alert was issued after a vehicle was stolen in Garden City with a 14-month-old baby alone in the back seat. The baby’s mother had run back inside the house after strapping the child into a car seat.
The baby was found unharmed several hours later.
Kids and Car Safety (kidsandcars.org) reminds us that it is never a good idea to leave a baby unattended in a vehicle.
“Contrary to what many believe, this is not a rare occurrence,” the non-profit organization’s director, Amber Rollins, writes. “Already this year, Kids and Car Safety has documented 50 children who were taken in a vehicle that was stolen.”
In February in Wichita, a 13-year-old girl was dragged to death trying to escape the backseat of her family SUV that was stolen with her alone in the back seat. In 2019, Kids and Car Safety documented over 200 children taken in stolen vehicles nationwide.
“Thieves watch for vehicles to be left unattended with the keys inside,” Rollins writes. “Most of the time, they don’t realize that there is a child inside until after they have already stolen the vehicle.” She adds, “Car thefts happen even in the safest neighborhoods. Children and pets should never be left alone inside of a vehicle, not even for a minute.”
Adults should also keep car doors locked any time they’re sitting inside a parked vehicle, she adds.
For the record, Kids and Cars also reminds motorists of the danger of leaving children or pets in hot vehicles – a warning we also share with readers every year as the days become warmer.
There has already been one child who died in a hot car this year – a 5-month-old girl in North Carolina. There were 25 such fatalities in 2020 but there were 53 in 2019 and a record 54 in 2018. In 55% of child hot car deaths from 1990-2020, the child was unknowingly left in the vehicle.
These are grim statistics but the abductions, cases of heatstroke, and even death can be avoided by taking time to be aware and take care.