Look Before You Lock

You are on your way home from a long day at work. There is a project you are working on and you are thinking about ideas on how to improve it. Your child is in the backseat and has fallen asleep. You arrive home and rush inside to make the changes to your project before you forget. 

This is a situation that can happen to almost anyone. This could become a deadly mistake if not recognized in time. On average, 38 children per year in the United States lose their lives from heatstroke due to being trapped in a car.

The inside of a vehicle can increase by over 20 degrees in about 10 minutes. The temperature inside a vehicle could rise by over 40 degrees in about an hour. Death has occurred with outside temperatures just over 70 degrees Fahrenheit. A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body. Children have a lot of body surface area that absorbs heat. Children’s bodies have not yet developed the ability to cool down well.

Though we all think we would never leave our child alone in the car, it could happen to any of us. A change in your routine, busy schedule and lack of sleep can cause us to becar seatcome distracted easier than you think.

Safety tips to help prevent leaving your child behind:

  • NEVER leave a child in a vehicle unattended.
  • Make it a habit to look in the back seat EVERY time you exit the car.
  • ALWAYS lock the car and put the keys out of reach.  
  • If you see a child left in an unattended vehicle, call 911 and get help immediately. 

Set up a system to help in preventing heatstroke risks. Safe Kids Worldwide recommends using the acronym ACT

Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not inside so kids don’t get in on their own.  

Create reminders. Keep a stuffed animal or other mementos in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Or place and secure your phone, briefcase, or purse in the backseat when traveling with your child.

Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel wants you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations

Sources: NHTSA & Safe Kids Worldwide