18 Things You Should Never Leave Unattended in a Car

It can be tempting to leave things in cars, particularly when we have a short errand or don’t want the hassle of removing everything. But this seemingly harmless act can have serious consequences, particularly in areas with extreme weather conditions and high crime rates. Here we list 18 things you should never leave unattended in your car.


Photo Credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.

Leaving children alone in a car is not only illegal, it’s extremely dangerous. The National Safety Council reports, “The number of child hot car deaths for 2023 was 29.” Even if the outside temperature feels mild, cars are like greenhouses, and the temperature inside can rise quickly—leading to heatstroke, dehydration, and even death.


Photo Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.

Like young children, pets cannot exit the car should temperatures become dangerously high, so you shouldn’t leave them unattended. Cracking the window, parking in partial shade, or leaving the air conditioning running isn’t enough—always take your pet with you. According to PETA, 162 pets died in hot cars in 2023 alone.

Personal Valuables

Photo Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.

Leaving purses, wallets, or bags visible in your car is an open invitation for any opportunistic thief that may be passing by. Even if you lock your vehicle, smash-and-grab robberies happen in seconds, regardless of an alarm, while more sophisticated thieves gain entry without triggering the security system. Keep your valuables out of sight, or take them with you.


Photo Credit: enzo lau/Shutterstock.

Never keep smartphones, cameras, tablets, or laptops in your car—even if they are hidden. Fox News Business claims thieves use concealed Bluetooth devices to ‘scan’ vehicles for electronic devices, which only need to be switched on and have Bluetooth enabled to be visible. So, always remove valuable electronics from your car.

Medications and Medical Supplies

Photo Credit: Adul10/Shutterstock.

Leaving medications, especially life-saving ones, exposed to extreme heat or cold inside a car can make them less effective or even harmful. Insulin, for example, loses its potency at high temperatures, while other medications can break down or become unstable. Always store essential medicines at the recommended temperature and avoid leaving them in your car.

Anything Flammable

Photo Credit: grafxart/Shutterstock.

It’s never advisable to leave lighters, aerosol cans, or compressed gas containers in a car, even on a mild day. Should the temperature rise, these items could explode, damaging your car or starting a fire. Fire Safety Matters reports that disposable lighters left on car dashboards in hot weather frequently cause car fires.

Hazardous Materials

Photo Credit: ccpixx photography/Shutterstock.

Unless you have a professionally fitted transport vehicle, don’t leave chemicals, pesticides, or strong cleaning products inside your car. These dangerous liquids can leak, releasing harmful fumes, or become increasingly unstable and toxic at high temperatures. Always store chemicals adequately and never leave them in an automobile for extended periods.

Perishable Food

Photo Credit: Ira Shpiller/Shutterstock.

On a hot day, perishable grocery items like dairy, fruit, and meats will spoil quickly behind glass due to the high temperatures. Bacterial growth will make food unsafe to consume and create unpleasant smells and unwanted pests, like flies. Use a cooler if you need to transport perishable items, and always minimize the amount of time food is left unrefrigerated.

Important Documents

Photo Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.

Reader’s Digest warns that leaving essential documents like passports, ID cards, social security information, or bank statements in your car is a recipe for disaster. Besides being time-consuming and costly to replace, such documents can be used for identity theft or fraud. Keep such documents secure at home or on your person.

Gifts and Packages

Photo Credit: djtrenershutter/Shutterstock.

Although a thief can’t always tell what’s inside, gifts or packages left in plain sight can entice car thieves. Even if the package is not valuable, a thief may smash a window or force a door open to investigate. Ultimately, the cost of the damages may be far greater than the value of the package, whether it’s taken or not.

Spare Keys

Photo Credit: fatir29/Shutterstock.

Anything unique and difficult to replace should never be left in a car—that goes for passports and spare keys. Losing spare house keys (especially if your address is in the car) can be unnerving. Plus, if a thief discovers a spare car key, stealing your vehicle will be exceedingly straightforward.

Weapons and Ammunition

Photo Credit: melvin abanto jr/Shutterstock.

Leaving firearms or ammunition unattended in your car is illegal in most U.S. states and also incredibly dangerous. If your vehicle is stolen, these weapons can fall into the wrong hands, threatening public safety, and you could potentially be implicated in violent crimes. Always store weapons securely and responsibly, as per police regulations.

Tools and Equipment

Photo Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.

Unless the tools are necessary for changing a spare tire or jump-starting your vehicle, you shouldn’t keep them in your car. Valuable tools and equipment are easily stolen and sold for profit, so they frequently attract thieves. Secure your tools in a locked toolbox or take them with you when not in use.


Photo Credit: Vera Petrunina/Shutterstock.

Bulging backpacks and suitcases are alluring to thieves because they have the potential to contain many valuables, like wallets, personal electronics, and travel documents. As with gifts, the luggage doesn’t need to contain anything valuable to prompt costly damages from forced entry, not to mention the inconvenience and potential for ruined vacations.

Prescription Sunglasses and Glasses

Photo Credit: Dean Drobot/Shutterstock.

Leaving prescription sunglasses or eyeglasses in your car can damage them due to exposure to extreme heat or cold. The lenses can warp, the frames can become brittle, and the delicate coatings can deteriorate. Invest in a sturdy case for your eyewear, and always take them with you when not in use.

Sentimental Items

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Don’t risk leaving irreplaceable heirlooms, family photographs, wedding dresses, or inherited jewelry in an unattended vehicle. Even if they aren’t the primary target for criminals, such items can be stolen along with your car or taken by ‘smash and grab’ thieves who will later discard them. No amount of insurance can replace such items, causing potential heartache.


Photo Credit: kornnphoto/Shutterstock.

Make-up and sunscreen can be destroyed by UV light and extremely high or low temperatures, so never leave cosmetic items in your car, no matter how tempting they may be. The quality of expensive make-up, like lipsticks, can be permanently destroyed, while the effectiveness of foundations and creams with high SPF factors can be reduced.

Electric Batteries

Photo Credit: Mikhail Olykainen/Shutterstock.

Bluefire Insurance warns that electric batteries, or electronics that contain one, shouldn’t be left in cars. Extreme cold can weaken a battery, while high temperatures can cause them to rupture or even explode, destroying the device they are intended to power. Always keep batteries in a cool, dry place inside your home or office.

Read More: 18 Misunderstood Acts The Bible Says Aren’t Actually Sins

Photo Credit: Viorel Sima/Shutterstock.

People tend to assume that the Bible condemns a wide array of behaviors, but the reality might surprise you. Here, we zoom in on 18 so-called “sins” that may not be as bad as we thought.

18 Misunderstood Acts The Bible Says Aren’t Actually Sins

The Boomers Called It: 19 Stupid Trends That Backfired

Photo Credit: Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock.

Sometimes, we get carried away with trends that we think are cool at the time, only to realize later how utterly ridiculous they were. Join us as we take a cringe-worthy trip down memory lane and explore 19 stupid trends that backfired. Prepare for some facepalms!

The Boomers Called It: 19 Stupid Trends That Backfired

18 Reasons Why No One Is Interested in Working Anymore

Photo Credit: PeopleImages.com – Yuri A/Shutterstock.

The concept of traditional employment has taken a back seat in recent times with changes in economic and social factors, as well as individual preferences. Traditional jobs have also evolved, and many people don’t feel the need to take this route anymore. These are 18 reasons why no one is interested in working anymore.

18 Reasons Why No One Is Interested in Working Anymore

21 Things That Will Be Lost Forever When The Boomer Generation is Gone

Photo Credit: Olena-Yakobchuk/Shutterstock.

Baby boomers grew up in a vastly different culture, so they have what younger generations consider strange habits. An internet survey recently asked, “What will die with boomers?” Here are the top 22 answers.

21 Things That Will Be Lost Forever When The Boomer Generation is Gone

18 Common Phrases That Signals Support for Trump

Photo Credit: Steve Sykes/Shutterstock.

Understanding the unique language of politics, particularly among Trump supporters, can provide valuable insights into the nation’s current state. Here’s a deeper look into 17 phrases you’ll likely only hear from this demographic.

18 Common Phrases That Signals Support for Trump