As my son and I drove home tonight at 5:30pm, we couldn’t help but notice how warm it was out already. It was only a couple of weeks ago that we wore long sleeves and now we have the air conditioning running full blast. As the sweltering summer weather quickly approaches we should remind ourselves and loved ones to Look Before You Lock and pledge to prevent child heatstroke in cars.
Heatstroke in cars is the leading cause of all non-crash related deaths in children under 14 years old. These deaths are completely preventable.
In 2011, at least 33 children in the U.S. died after being left unattended in a vehicle, not to mention the unknown numbers that were injured. In more than half of those deaths the person responsible had locked the child in the car by accident.
Some tips to remember:
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even in cooler weather with the windows partially open.
- Make it a habit to always check the vehicle, front and back, before locking the doors.
- Never let children play in an unattended vehicle. Cars are not a play area.
- Have the child’s care-givers call if the child doesn’t arrive at the expected time to daycare, preschool, babysitters etc.
- If the parent that usually drops the child off at childcare, isn’t taking the child that day, call the person that is taking the child and confirm that things went well.
- Keep a large stuffed animal in the car seat when the child isn’t in the car, then move the stuffed animal to the front seat when the child is in the car seat. This can serve as a visual reminder that the baby is in his/her car seat.
- Keep your wallet, cellphone, or purse next to the car seat. Even if dropping your child off in the morning isn’t part of your daily routine, your phone and wallet usually are and you’re likely to make sure you have them before leaving your car.
Keeping children safe is the responsibility of everyone in the community. The Department of Health and Human Services along with the DOT/NHTSA have developed a voluntary pledge to assist parents and providers to work together to keep children safe. Download your copy of the pledge at