August 17, 2023

Summer Car Safety

This image depicts a mother in the process of securing her young daughter into her child safety seat, which was located in the vehicle’s rear seat.
Photo by Amanda Mills/CDC

This summer, the Cambridge Public Health Department is doing a summer safety series to help keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe this season. This week is on summer car safety.

Leaving children and animals inside of a car can be very dangerous. In the summer months in Cambridge, the temperature in a closed car can rise quickly, and the vehicle can become a deadly place for a child or animal left inside, even for just a few minutes.

To keep young children and animals safe in and around cars:

  • Never leave children or animals alone in a parked vehicle, even when they are asleep or restrained, and even if the windows are open.
  • Always check inside the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away.
  • If a child is missing, check your vehicle first, including the trunk.
  • Do things to remind yourself that a child or animal is in the vehicle, such as placing your purse or briefcase in the back seat so you will check there when you leave the vehicle.
  • Always lock your car and keep the keys out of children’s reach.
  • Ensure adequate supervision when children are playing in areas near parked motor vehicles.

If you see a child or animal alone in a hot vehicle, call the police. If they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible and call 911 immediately.

Other car safety tips: 

  • All children ages 12 and under should ride in the back seat, properly restrained, even during quick errand trips.
  • Infants and toddlers should remain in rear-facing car seats until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat manufacturer. At a minimum, children should ride rear facing until they are at least 1 year old and weigh at least 20 pounds.