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Child Found Dead in a Car in Rathdrum, ID – #12 in 2023

— July 26, 2023

If a child is missing, immediately check the inside, floorboards, and trunk of all vehicles in the area carefully, even if they’re locked.

Tragically, a 2-year-old child was found dead in a family member’s car when he was left outside alone to play in Rathdrum, ID on Sunday evening (7/9/23). The circumstances surrounding how the child ended up in the vehicle are not yet clear.

This is at least the 12th child to die in a hot car nationwide this year and the 1st in Idaho.

More than 1,050 children have died in hot cars nationwide since 1990 and at least another 7,300 survived with varying types and severities of injuries, according to data collected by Kids and Car Safety. Approximately 87% of children who die in hot cars are age 3 or younger and the majority (56%) were unknowingly left by an otherwise loving, responsible parent or caregiver.

Technology exists that can prevent these unthinkable tragedies. A provision was passed in November 2021 as a part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a regulation by November 2023 for technology in all new cars to help prevent hot car deaths. Safety advocates are working to ensure that the technology that will be required is the most effective available. To learn more about technology to stop hot car deaths view our press release from our national press event with members of Congress on May 1.

“We are committed to the push for occupant detection technology in all cars immediately. As we continue our advocacy, children continue to die week after week. It is beyond heartbreaking,” stated Janette Fennell, founder and president of Kids and Car Safety, the leading national nonprofit working solely to prevent injuries and deaths of children in and around motor vehicles.  “Automakers do not have to wait for the final regulation to be issued requiring technology; they can add occupant detection technology to their vehicles today. An occupant detection and alert system could have gotten assistance to this sweet angel before it was too late,” she continued.

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Photo by Jano Gepiga from Pexels

Child hot car deaths and injuries are largely misunderstood by the general public and the majority of parents believe this would never happen to them. Kids and Car Safety works to educate families about how they can safeguard their children until they have life-saving technology in their vehicles.

Hot Car Resources:

Hot car dangers fact sheet

Available hot car technology

Differences between rear seat reminder alert only & occupant detection

Occupant detection technology demonstration video

Funded by State Farm Insurance, the organization released three new video PSAs aimed at educating the public about these predictable and preventable tragedies.

What To Do if You See a Child Alone in a Vehicle

Child gets into hot car, becomes trapped

Child Unknowingly Left in a Hot Car

Safety Tips for Parents and Caregivers

Create simple habits to help keep your child safe.

  • Make sure your child is never left alone in a car:
  • Place the child’s diaper bag or item in the front passenger seat as a visual cue that the child is with you.
  • Make it a habit of opening the back door every time you park to ensure no one is left behind. To enforce this habit, place an item that you can’t start your day without in the back seat (employee badge, laptop, phone, handbag, etc.)
  • Ask your childcare provider to call you right away if your child hasn’t arrived as scheduled.
  • Clearly announce and confirm who is getting each child out of the vehicle. Miscommunication can lead to thinking someone else removed the child.

Make sure children cannot get into a parked car:

  • Keep vehicles locked at all times, especially in the garage or driveway. Ask neighbors and visitors to do the same.
  • Never leave car keys within reach of children.
  • Use childproofing knob covers and door alarms to prevent children from exiting your home unnoticed.
  • Teach children to honk the horn or turn on hazard lights if they become stuck inside a car.
  • If a child is missing, immediately check the inside, floorboards, and trunk of all vehicles in the area carefully, even if they’re locked.

For more information, visit

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