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"Look before You Lock"

APD and AFD Launch Campaign Reminding Parents not to Leave Children Unattended in Vehicles

By Officer Tasia Martinez

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.

Kids and hot cars are a deadly combination. The police department wants to remind parents that they should always know where their children are at all times to ensure their safety. The hope is that these simple reminders will save lives.

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.

APD will be distributing posters to local shopping centers, daycares, and other businesses to remind people to check their vehicles. Window clings will also be distributed at local substations to place in vehicles as a reminder for drivers to check their vehicles before locking them. We also encourage local media and stations to add web banners to their web pages.

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.

The NHTSA and other safety advocates and academic institutions have recognized the safety threat heatstroke poses for young children left in hot cars. The federal government, automakers, car seat manufacturers, health and safety advocates, consumer groups, and others are working together to tackle this important safety issue.

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.

The message of the campaign is simple. Never leave children unattended, especially in vehicles. Make a habit of checking your rear and passenger seats every time you exit your car. Always lock your vehicle and keep keys out of reach of young children.

If you ever see a child left alone in a vehicle call 911 immediately. It is the policy of the police and fire department to have a priority one response to any reports of children or pets left in hot vehicles.

As we approach the winter months, the temperatures drop but children are still at risk for serious injury or death when they are left in vehicles unattended in any weather. AFD and APD will continue their campaign throughout all seasons to remind parents to never leave their children alone in vehicles. Forming good habits now will help save lives all year long.