Ad Council PSAs warn of hot car deaths as summer approaches

‘Never Happens’ campaign shows how the worst can happen even to parents who promise it never will

Published On
May 01, 2024
Baby in car seat

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As warmer temperatures approach and people everywhere get excited for summer, the Ad Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are interrupting the excitement with a word of caution.

In partnership with agency Chemistry, the organizations have launched new PSAs to educate parents and caretakers on the deadly dangers of hot cars, especially for children.

The campaign, titled “Never Happens,” ushers in summer with national TV, radio, print, outdoor and digital ads in English and Spanish that call attention to real situations that can occur to parents and caretakers, even when they think it could never happen to them. 

Two 60-second spots depict vignettes of life’s imperfect moments to show the many things parents promise never to do. However, “never” happens, such as forgetting a child in a hot car or having a child stuck in a car.


The campaign reinforces the call-to-action to always ”Stop. Look. Lock” to prevent that from happening. It also educates on how dangerous hot cars can be. 

“Hot car deaths are heartbreaking, but they are also preventable,” said Sophie Shulman, deputy administrator at the NHTSA. “We are asking all Americans to understand the risks posed by hot cars and do their part to keep children safe. When you park, Stop. Look. Lock.”

The PSA comes as pediatric vehicular heatstroke (child hot car deaths) is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related fatalities for kids 14 and younger. According to the NHTSA, hot car deaths can happen in vehicles parked in shaded areas and in temperatures as low as 60 degrees, even with the windows cracked. 

Meanwhile, heat can have devastating effects on children, as their bodies warm three to five times faster than adult bodies. Most heatstroke scenarios occur because a child is forgotten in a hot car (52.7%), a child gained access to an unlocked car and became trapped (25.8%) or a child was left behind in a vehicle (20.1%).


“As parents, we say we’ll never do a ton of things, but ‘never’ happens all the time. To get parents to believe that child hot car deaths can happen to them, we reminded them of all the other ‘nevers’ that have already become a reality for them," said Will Benham, executive creative director at Chemistry.

As part of the campaign, parents and caretakers are invited to visit to find information about preventing hot car injury and death. 


May 01, 2024
Client :
Ad Council
Agency :
Executive Creative Director :
Mike Groenewald
Executive Creative Director :
Will Benham
Associate Creative Director :
Lizzy Powers
Associate Creative Director :
Dan Lemaux
VP Head of Production :
Renee Royal
Executive Producer :
Matt Joyner
Group Strategy Director :
Alexa McGriff
SR. Brand Strategist :
Coni Salinas
EVP Partnerships & Experiments :
Courtney Saul
Account Director :
Kayleigh Ladshaw
Senior Account Manager :
Libby Riordan
Group Director Project Management :
Lauren Interrante
Project Manager :
Gracie Bell
Creative Services Director :
Jeffrey Moore
Multimedia & Studio Director :
Larry Odom
Chief Growth Officer :
Taylor Guglielmo
President :
Tim Smith
Chief Creative Officer :
Chris Breen
Marketing Strategist :
Elizabeth Nilsson
Associate Administrator for Communications & Consumer Information :
Julie Vallese
Highway Safety Specialist :
Laura Dunn
Chief Campaign Development Officer :
Michelle Hillman
VP Strategy & Evaluation :
Patty Goldman
SVP Group Campaign Director :
Dzu Bui
VP Group Campaign Director :
Cece Wedel
Campaign Manager :
Emily Gonzalez
Assistant Campaign Manager :
Brittney Crosby
Production Company :
Park Pictures
Director :
Lisa Rubisch
Managing Director/Exec Producer :
Justin Pollock
Line Producer :
Joey Fitzsimmons
Director of Photography :
Karina Silva
1st AD :
Julia Zsolnay
Senior Head of Production/Business Affairs :
Anne Bobroff
Head of Production :
Chelsea Schwiering
Executive Producer :
Jackie Kelman Bisbee
Edit :
Work Editorial
Editor :
Aika Miyake
Assistant Editor :
Chris Wronka
Producer :
Malia Rose
Executive Producer :
Alejandra Alarcon
Head of Production :
Chris Delarenal
Music :
Butter Music + Sound
Andrew Sherman
ECD/Arranger :
Dan Zank
Executive Producer :
Renée Massé
Music Supervisor :
Ryan Alons
Music Coordinator :
Anneliese Daley
Audio Post :
Mr. Bronx
Senior Mixer :
Geoff Strasser
Sound Designer :
Geoff Strasser
Producer :
Maggie Norsworthy
Color :
Company 3
Colorist :
Tim Masick
Producer :
Ryan Moncrief
Cleanup :
Jane Studios
Conform :
Jane Studios
Executive Producer :
Rich Rama
Head of Production :
Ben Sposato
Lead Flame Artist :
David Parker
Flame Artist :
Jameson Desantis
Lead Flame Artist :
Westley Sarokin
Stills :
Evan Parsons Photography
Photographer :
Evan Parsons

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