In conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Albuquerque Police Department and Albuquerque Fire Department started a public awareness campaign, "Look Before You Lock", that focuses on the dangers of leaving children in cars.
The “Look Before You Lock” campaign is aimed to help busy parents and caretakers remember to look in the passenger and back seats of their vehicles before they lock their car doors. According to the NHTSA, heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle fatalities for children 14 and under. One child dies from heatstroke nearly every 10 days from being left in a hot vehicle.
Heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees. A recent study shows that in more than 54 percent of cases, the person responsible for the child’s death unknowingly or accidentally left the child in the vehicle. In more than 30 percent of cases, a child got into the vehicle on their own.
Parents and caregivers are urged to take a few simple steps to never run the risk of losing a child to heatstroke, because kids and hot cars are a deadly combination.
- Never leave infants or young children unattended in a vehicle, even if you leave the windows partly open or the air conditioning on. Remember, it’s against the law to leave a child unattended in a vehicle in many states. But most important, you run the risk of losing a child to heatstroke because kids are much more sensitive to rising temperatures than adults.
- Placing your purse, briefcase or something else you need in the back seat.
- If you are dropping your child off at childcare, and it’s normally your spouse, partner or caregiver who drops them off, have them call you to make sure the drop off went according to plan.
- Set a reminder on your cell phone or calendar to alert you to be sure you dropped your child off at day care. You can also download the Baby Reminder App for iPhones.
- Have a plan with your childcare provider so they will call you if your child does not show up for childcare by a certain time.
- Never let children play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them a vehicle is not play area.
- Always lock your vehicle doors and trunk and keep the keys out of a child’s reach.
- If a child is missing, quickly check all vehicles, including the trunk.
- If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. If they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly (not an ice bath but by spraying them with cool water or with a garden hose).
•Safe Kids - www.safekids.org
•Kids and Cars - www.kidsandcars.org
•Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia - www.chop.edu
• National Highway Traffic Safety Administration -www.safercar.gov/heatstroke