Home > Blog > Summer Heat, Autos & Child Safety

Summer Heat, Autos & Child Safety

Posted by:

Excessive heat can pose additional risks to drivers and passengers.  In a matter of minutes, the inside of your car can become dangerously hot.  From 1998 to 2020, 883 children died from heatstroke in hot cars according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In many cases, a parent or guardian forgets the child is in the backseat.   In others, a child may climb into a parked car, fall asleep or be trapped.   Either way, the outcome can be tragic.

Here are some safety tips to keep children safe when it comes to heat and vehicles:

  • Don’t Leave Them Alone, Not Even for a Minute - Never leave children unattended in a vehicle - even if the windows are open or the air conditioning is running.

  • Vehicles Aren’t Play Areas - Don’t let children play in an unattended vehicle.

  • Put Keys Out of Sight - Always lock your vehicle – even in driveways and garages - and keep keys out of children's reach.

  • Make it a Habit – Before locking your vehicle, check the front and back seat.

  • Keep a stuffed animal in your child’s car seat. When the child is with you, move it to the front seat as a reminder that your child is in the back.

  • Caregiver Assistance - If you normally drop your child off at a babysitter or daycare, ask the caregiver to call you if your child doesn’t show up as expected.

  • Add a Reminder- Put your purse/wallet or cell phone in the back seat. This way you are reminded to look in the back seat before leaving the vehicle.

  • Call for Help - If you see a child alone in the car, call 911 immediately and follow the instructions of emergency personnel.

Extreme heat can also pose risks to your vehicle. AAA recommends drivers check these five key areas to help their vehicle safely survive higher temperatures:


  • Securely mount the battery in place to minimize vibration.

  • Clean any corrosive build up from the battery terminals and cable clamps.

  • Ensure the clamps are tight enough that they will not move.

  • If a car’s battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to have it tested by a trained technician to determine how much longer it will last.  The test can be performed at any qualified Auto Repair facility.

Engine Coolant

  • Have the system flushed and the coolant replaced periodically as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

  • Consult the owner’s manual to determine the service interval appropriate for a vehicle.

  • Inspect hoses and drive belts for cracking, soft spots or other signs of poor condition.

  • Replace worn parts.


  • Check tires when the car has not been driven recently.

  • Inflate tires to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer—not the number molded into the tire sidewall.

  • Inspect the tire treads for adequate depth and any signs of uneven wear that might indicate a suspension or alignment problem.

Engine Fluids

  • Check all vehicle fluids including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels.

  • If any fluids need to be topped off, be sure to use the type of fluid specified in the owner’s manual.

Air Conditioning

  • Maintain a comfortable driving environment to reduce fatigue and increase driver alertness for increased vehicle safety.

  • Have the air conditioning system checked by a certified technician.

Just in Case….Be Prepared for Summer Breakdowns.  Even with proper preventive maintenance, summer breakdowns can still occur. AAA recommends every driver have a well-stocked emergency kit in their vehicle. The kit should include water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools, and a first aid kit.

If you or a loved one are involved in any type of auto accident, contact our offices for a free review of your matter.  For over 40 years, we have worked with clients across SE Wisconsin to ensure they receive the compensation and protection they deserve.