Adults try to win $100 by spending 10 minutes in a hot car to show why kids can't.

It's the middle of summer, which is usually the time of year we start talking more about kids being left in cars.

According to Kars4Kids, an average of at least one child dies from heat stroke each week after being left in a hot car.

But here's the thing: Often parents or caregivers don't realize how hot it can get inside a car, even when it's not that hot outside.


When the outdoor temperature is in the 60s, it can still rise to over 110 degrees inside a parked car. So knowingly leaving a child alone in a car can create a life threatening situation, no matter the temperature.

Image by Kars4Kids.

And then there's this sad fact: Sometimes parents — yes, even otherwise "good" ones — forget that their kids are in the car altogether.

While that might seem hard to believe, it's possible and it happens. (There's a great Washington Post article about parents who forgot their children in cars that's worth reading if you're skeptical that quality parents can make real, tragic mistakes. You can also read first-person stories from loving and heartbroken parents who made this mistake themselves on KidsAndCars.org.)

Morris Franco from Kars4Kids explains, "There have been many tragedies of this kind that were a result of very loving and responsible parents forgetting their child [in the car]." Morris notes that it happens across socioeconomic levels and professions — doctors, lawyers, computer scientists, teachers, and more have all forgotten their children in hot vehicles.

"Experts have explained this phenomenon of 'Forgotten Baby Syndrome' with the following," says Morris.

"Many tasks during the day for most people are performed by rote and require very little conscious thought. The part of the brain that controls that type functioning is the motor cortex. Then there are other tasks which do require critical thinking in order to make a clear decision and that is governed by the hippocampus part of our brain.

Whenever a person is stressed, sleep deprived and/or distracted there is a very high probability that the motor cortex part of the brain will override the cognitive thinking part.

A classic example would be when planning to make a stop on the way home from the office, when suddenly you find yourself parked in your driveway with your errand undone. That is your motor cortex kicking in your routine, while your critical thinking 'takes a break.'"



So what can we do to keep kids out of hot cars?

First, we can educate people about how hot it actually gets inside of a closed vehicle. In this social experiment conducted by Kars4Kids, the organization offered $100 to people who could complete the "Hot Car Challenge" — remaining in a closed car for 10 minutes.

Watch how long these people lasted (and see how they reacted) to understand exactly how hot it gets inside of a car.

Not one single person lasted 10 minutes. Every person asked to get out before the time was up.

As one participant said, "It seems fine at first, but once that door closed, almost immediately, it becomes really hot and the air flow becomes oppressive."

Second, we can find ways for parents or caregivers to remind themselves that there is a child in the backseat.

Franco offers the following ideas to help:

  • "Place a personal item that you would never leave the car without in the backseat," he says. That will ensure you have to actually open the door and look in the back before you leave the car. Items you could use include your cellphone, your purse, or one of your shoes.
  • "Have a stuffed animal designated in the car seat always. When strapping in the child to the car seat, place the stuffed animal in the passenger seat. This will serve as a reminder to the driver upon reaching their destination that your child is in the backseat. Then replace your child with the stuffed animal upon departure of the vehicle. Repeat upon return," Franco suggests.
  • If you take your child to day care, Franco advises you "tell your childcare provider to notify you any day your child was not dropped off to daycare. Many times these tragedies occur due to a change in routine when someone else was given the errand of dropping off the child to daycare."
  • There's an app for that! Kars4Kids created an app that causes an alarm to go off on your phone each time you (and your phone) leave the car.

Remember, don't ever leave kids in a car — even when it doesn't seem that hot outside — and don't think that an honest accident couldn't happen to you. Take precautions to remind yourself that your little one is in the backseat.

Photo courtesy of Capital One
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Growing up in Virginia, Dominique Meeks Gombe idolized her family physician — a young Black woman who inspired Meeks Gombe to pursue her passion for chemistry.

While Meeks Gombe began her career working in an environmental chemistry lab, after observing multiple inefficient processes in and around the lab, she took the initiative to teach herself to code in order to automate and streamline those issues.

That sparked her love for coding and imminent career shift. Now a software engineer at Capital One, Meeks Gombe wants to be a similar role model to her childhood mentor and encourage girls to pursue any career they desire.

"I'm so passionate about technology because that's where the world is going," Meeks Gombe said. "All of today's problems will be solved using technology. So it's very important for me, as a Black woman, to be at the proverbial table with my unique perspective."

Since 2019, she and her fellow Capital One associates have partnered with the Capital One Coders program and Girls For A Change to teach coding fundamentals to middle school girls.

The nonprofit's mission is aimed at empowering Black girls in Central Virginia. The organization focuses on designing, leading, funding and implementing social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods.

Girls For a Change is one of many local nonprofits that receive support from the Capital One Impact Initiative, which strives to close gaps in equity while helping people gain better access to economic and social opportunities. The initial $200 million, five-year national commitment aims to support growth in underserved communities as well as advance socioeconomic mobility.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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