The Aug. 10 Metro article on the death of 3-year-old Kristen Grote highlighted how dangerous it is to leave children unattended in vehicles.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. More than 240 children have died of heatstroke after being trapped inside parked cars since 1996, and at least 20 have died this year.

Here are a few tips on kids, cars and heat:

* Never leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle, even with a window open.

* Teach children not to play in or around vehicles.

* Always lock a vehicle's doors and trunk, especially at home.

* Ensure that all children exit the vehicle at your destination.

* Keep rear fold-down seats locked in place to help prevent kids from getting into the trunk from the passenger area of a car.

A young child trapped in a hot, closed vehicle is at a particularly high risk during a humid Washington summer. A parent's absence for just a "quick errand" on even a mild day can put a child's health in jeopardy, since it takes only a few minutes for a vehicle to heat to dangerous levels.

Anyone who observes a child alone inside a closed vehicle should call emergency services immediately.


Director of Public Policy

and General Counsel

National SAFE KIDS Campaign