Florida leads the nation in hot car deaths in 2023

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — An 18-month-old Lakeland girl is the 10th hot car death in the U.S. this year, according to Kids and Car Safety. Data compiled by the nonprofit shows Florida has the most hot car deaths of any state, with five children losing their lives. Alabama, New York, Washington, Texas, and Mississippi have each had one child die in a hot car so far in 2023.

What You Need To Know

  • The nonprofit Kids and Car Safety says five of the 10 U.S. children who have died in hot cars so far this year have been from Florida


  • According to data from the group, Florida is second only to Texas in hot car deaths from 1990 to 2021


  • The director of Kids and Car Safety said advocates would like to see occupant detection systems become standard in all cars

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it has started the rule-making process to require audio and visual alert systems in cars, but the nonprofit said this doesn't go far enough

“As a safety advocate, I’m frustrated. We’ve been working for decades to prevent these tragedies that just continue to happen,” said Amber Rollins, director of Kids and Car Safety. “As a mother, I’m heartbroken.”

The U.S. Child Hot Car Death Data Analysis from the Kids and Car Safety National Database shows Florida is second only to Texas in hot car deaths, with 107 lives lost from 1990 to 2021. 

“Hot car tragedies can happen to anybody, and they happen to people of all different walks of life, all different socioeconomic statuses, education levels. They happen to the infinitely organized type-A people, as well as the scatterbrained, disorganized type people,” Rollins said.

In 2021, Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs ActPart of the act calls for cars to come standard with technology that allows for an audio and visual reminder alert to check the backseat. Rollins said it’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough.

She told Spectrum News that Kids and Car Safety has already tracked four child deaths in vehicles with that technology since it started appearing in cars in 2017. The alert is triggered when a back door is opened before driving.

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