Summer's swelter is in full swing. So, this is the perfect time for all of us to 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. On warm days, the inside of a car can reach lethal temperatures very quickly.
Here are some tips to remember and share with loved ones:
• 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.
For tips on what bystanders can do to help if they see a child or pet in distress, watch this video of Sarasota Memorial Hospital physicians and staff volunteer Shawn Halls as they demonstrate just how quickly the inside of a car can heat to fatal temperatures.
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.