The new car seat guidelines that suggest toddlers should stay rear-facing until age 2 or until they reach the height or weight limits of their seat may make kids safer in an accident, but it may also mean they are at increased risk of hot car death. This tragedy occurs when parents accidentally leave their child behind in the car, which then rapidly heats up and causes heatstroke. 49 children died this way last year, according to the Detroit Free Press, and 5 deaths have been reported so far this year.
Plus: How Hot Car Deaths Happen
Now some experts are concerned that rear-facing kids could be more easily forgotten and left behind, since they are harder to spot. According to the Free Press, a 1990s campaign to get more kids in rear-facing seats awas ccompanied by a spike in hot car deaths.
Plus: A Solution for Hot Car Deaths?
No one’s saying to move kids forward-facing too soon in order to minimize the risk of hot car death. But it’s more important than ever to read safety tips to help you make sure you remember your kids are in the car, like:
- Always put your cell phone, purse, or briefcase, and anything else you'll need that day, on the floor of the backseat. When you retrieve it at the end of the ride, you'll notice your child.
- Seat your younger (or quieter) child behind the front passenger seat, where he's most likely to catch your eye.
- Keep a teddy bear or other stuffed animal in the car seat when it's empty. When you put your child in the seat, move the animal to the front passenger seat, to remind you that your baby's on board.
Read more tips to prevent this awful scenario from ever happening to your family.