This article originally appeared on

With summer officially here, the risk of children being left in hot cars is on the rise.

A report from the Kids and Car Safety found that more than 1,000 children – including 38 from Virginia – have died in hot cars nationally in the past three decades, and officials from several state agencies and organizations are warning residents to take precautions. The months of May through September are the highest-risk months for hot car deaths.

Parents and other drivers are reminded to check the back seat of their cars when exiting to make sure no children are in it. Officials from the Virginia Department of Health, AAA Mid-Atlantic, Richmond Ambulance Authority, Child Care Aware of Virginia and BabyIn BabyOut also are reminding drivers to lock their cars so that children cannot get inside and accidentally trap themselves in the heat.

The trend in hot-car deaths has been rising, with 2018 and 2019 marking the worst years on record with 54 and 53 child deaths, respectively.

“One child dies from heatstroke nearly every 10 days in the United States from being left in a car or crawling into an unlocked vehicle,” said RAA CEO Chip Decker. “It’s incredibly important we do everything we can to prevent these tragedies. In almost every case the deaths could have been prevented.”

“Stress, lack of sleep, fatigue and a change in daily routine can happen to the most well-meaning and responsible parents,” said Morgan Dean, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson. “Changes in routines often trigger situations that lead to heatstroke deaths. So, especially as temperatures rise, we urge parents to take specific precautions to prevent child heatstroke in vehicles. Simple, but consistent steps can prevent the unimaginable grief of the loss of a child.”

If you do see a child in a hot car who is not responsive, officials urge you to call 911 immediately. If the child appears to be okay, attempt to locate the parents or have the facility’s security or management page the car owner over the PA system. If there is someone with you, officials said, one person should actively search for the parent while the other waits at the car.

If the child is not responsive or appears to be in distress, attempt to get into the car – even if that means breaking a window to do so, officials said. Virginia has a “Good Samaritan” law (§ 8.01-225) that protects people from lawsuits when getting involved to help a person in an emergency.