How Many Illinois Kids Have Died Being Left In A Hot Car?
Of course, the answer to that question is obviously "too many." This sort of tragedy is completely avoidable, and should never, ever happen. Not even once.
I've been a dad for going on 30 years now, and I still remember some advice that was given to me when fatherhood began.
My dad had read a story about how a guy had left his infant son in the car while he made a quick run into a supermarket. While he was in there, the car was stolen with the child still strapped into the safety seat. What could have ended as a horror story actually turned out happily when the car and the child were found safe a few miles away.
My dad, in telling me about what he had read, warned me never to leave a child alone in a vehicle for any reason. He put it this way: "Would you leave a bag with a million dollars in it sit openly unattended in the car while you ran inside someplace to run a quick errand? If your answer to that is no, then what do you think your child is worth to you? You wouldn't leave the money, but you'd leave the kid?"
I've never left either of my kids in the car.
NoHeatStroke.org, a nonprofit organization that seeks to track every child hot-car death in America, wants to see the number of child deaths due to being left in an overheated car go down to zero across the country. Unfortunately, we're not there yet.
The numbers provided by NoHeatStroke.org are just heartbreaking:
- 890 children have died due to Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke (PVH) since 1998.
- Total number of U.S. pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths, 2021: 7
- Total number of U.S. pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths, 2020: 25
- Average number of U.S. child heatstroke fatalities per year 1998-2020: 38
As for Illinois, we totaled 16 hot car deaths among victims 14 years old or younger from 1998 to 2020. Illinois ranks 18th in child hot-car deaths per capita.
Texas leads the nation in this horrible category, with 132 child hot-car deaths, with Florida next at 96, and then comes California with 54, all since 1998.
The last hot-car death recorded in Illinois was during Memorial Day weekend 2014, when 5-year-old Logan Jacobs of Princeton reportedly climbed into his father's car — possibly to charge his dad's tablet device, which was found plugged in to the car charger. His father thought he was in his bedroom playing video games.
To read more on the topic, and to learn about ways to prevent hot-car deaths, click here.