According to a National organization, cars are being stolen with children alone in the back seat all over the country far too often and in some of the most unexpected places. Families are being traumatized and expensive AMBER Alerts are being issued as a result of these easily preventable incidents.
Last month, KidsAndCars.org documented 17 children (+ 4 cases involving dogs) who were taken in a stolen vehicle, one resulting in the tragic death of a teen. In 2019, KidsAndCars.org documented over 200 children taken in stolen vehicles nationwide.
“Thieves watch for vehicles to be left unattended with the engine running or the keys inside. Most of the time, they don’t realize that there is a child inside until after they have stolen the vehicle. Car thefts happen even in the safest neighborhoods, outside homes, convenience stores, grocery stores, daycares, restaurants, etc. It only takes a few seconds for a car thief to jump into a vehicle and be gone. Children and pets should never be left alone inside of a vehicle, not even for a minute.”
“Although the victims of these types of incidents typically survive, it is incredibly distressing for everyone involved. Because this is easily preventable, we can avoid the unnecessary trauma and use of precious law enforcement resources by simply never leaving children alone in vehicles.” said Janette Fennell, president and founder of KidsAndCars.org.
On February 6, a 13-year-old Wichita, KS girl was dragged to death trying to escape the backseat of her family SUV that was stolen while her family went inside to grab food. Below are the details on the cases KidsAndCars.org documented last month.
The organization lists several recommendations for parents and caregivers:
• Never leave a child alone in a vehicle, not even for a minute.
• If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately. If the child is in distress, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.
• Utilize drive-thru or curbside services that don’t require you to leave your vehicle
• If a business doesn’t offer curbside delivery, call upon arrival and ask them to bring your order to your car. Most people are more than happy to accommodate when you tell them you have small children.
• Keep car doors locked every time you step away from your vehicle and any time you’re sitting inside a parked car.
• Understand that a running vehicle can be driven away even if the key fob is not inside the vehicle.
Massachusetts does not have a law making it illegal to leave children unattended inside a vehicle, however, one is proposed.