A Reader Writes: The Dangers of Leaving a Child in a Hot Car


baby-car-seatDear Editor,

Anyone reading this letter who has children would wholeheartedly agree that there is nothing that we wouldn’t do for the health and safety of our children. If it meant going into debt for the rest of our lives, we would do it for the health of our children.

There is a major problem that occurs from time to time, although people don’t necessarily hear about it that often. The issue I am referring to is leaving children unattended in a car for any amount of time. After seeing it quite a few times, I’ve learned that there are two different types of situations. The first situation is where a person – and we are all people – makes a serious mistake. This is something which could chas v’shalom happen to almost anybody. The second situation is where a person says, “I only ran in for a second,” or, “The car was cool. I just shut the air conditioning as I got out.”

After thinking a lot about it, I came up with the following few points. Firstly, make it a habit to check your car before you leave it, even though you know where your children are. Use the extra 20 seconds to check as a precaution.

Secondly, as silly as it may sound, maybe we should post signs in yeshivos, kollelim, camps, bungalow colonies and places of work, stating, “Are your children where they are supposed to be?”

A third suggestion would be for playgroup teachers and babysitters to make it a habit of calling a parent of a child who has unexpectedly not shown up one day.

Finally, we should increase public awareness, which is why I wrote this letter in the first place.

As far as addressing a person who rationalizes that for a very short period of time it may be okay, think about this. If there is a time bomb set to go off in the car in ten minutes, would you put your child in the car or next to it for even just three minutes?

I have done research and found out from other Hatzolah members as well that this is a problem that occurs in all neighborhoods. It should not be thought that I am referring to any specific state or city, because I am not.

Sincerely Yours,

A Concerned Hatzolah Member


  1. I’ve heard the suggestion to put your pocketbook, attache case or whatever in the back seat as a routine. The chances are you won’t leave both behind w/o noticing.
    Sad, but true……

  2. Perhaps you should put your Jacket & hat on the infant seat that is your last stop. You’ll most probably not go to seder without it.
    Women leave your pocketbook, or your keys (house, nursery,work, etc. KEYS)

  3. I use to think how absent minded a person can be to leave their child in the car……until I left mine in a car for close to 45 in the summer. As I came home, one of my kids jumped out of car in parking lot and I ran after him to make sure he was ok forgetting about my one and half year old in the car. I was shaking later when I realized she was still in the car. Bederech Nes, shortly before, she kept asking my mother for apple juice – cup after cup – until I finally picked her up and brought her home and left her in car. Boruch Hashem, she was OK. Who knows without the juice what would have been chas veshalom. The moral of story, it can happen to anyone! Please be careful.

  4. The idea of the babysitter calling if the child isn’t there is a very good one i know someone who was saved that way

  5. Make a habit of leaving a purse/wallet near the child’s car seat, this way even if you forget a child you’ll very soon realize it. Do it always – even when you travel alone – this is the only way to make it a habit, and it only takes extra 10 secs to retrieve the items from the back.