2018 deadliest year for kids in hot cars in 20 years, report says

(CNN) – Summer is almost upon us, and warmer weather is heating things up.

The National Safety Council’s report says almost 800 U.S. children died of heatstroke in vehicles between 1998 and 2017. (Source: CNN)

The dangers of leaving children behind in hot cars can become deadly within minutes.

A car can act like a greenhouse, and on a hot day can heat up by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes.

On average, 38 children die each year after being left alone in hot cars.

Fifty-two children died in the U.S. in 2018 alone, making it the deadliest year on record in the past 20 years, according to the National Safety Council.

About 53 percent of those cases were due to a parent or caregiver accidentally leaving a child behind.

The council’s report, which was released this month, says almost 800 U.S. children died of heatstroke in vehicles between 1998 and 2017.

Just 21 states have laws regarding this issue, the report says. Eight include the possibility of felony charges for people who deliberately leave a child alone.

There are several companies out there that want to help remind rushed and preoccupied parents to check their back seats.

One of those companies is General Motors. Starting with the release of the 2017 Acadia, GM has a “rear seat reminder” built into more than 20 of its 2017 and 2018 models.

It will flash a message on the front controls and ding five times if the back door is opened and closed up to 10 minutes before the car starts.

The navigation app Waze has come out with a similar function. The “child reminder” setting alerts drivers to check their back seats once they’ve reached their programmed destination.

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