Look Before You Lock
Each summer, children die unnecessary and heartbreaking deaths when they are accidentally left in cars that heat up quickly. It is surprisingly easy to forget about baby in the backseat when thrown off your routine, daydreaming or simply dealing with stressors of everyday life. In order to combat these deaths, we and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommend the following tips for preventing these heartbreaking situations:
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
- Do not let your children play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them that a vehicle is not a play area.
- Never leave infants or children in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially open.
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle - front and back - before locking the door and walking away.
- If you are dropping your child off at childcare, and normally it's your spouse or partner who drops them off, have your spouse or partner call you to make sure the drop went according to plan.
- Ask your childcare provider to call you if your child does not show up for childcare.
- Always lock vehicle doors and trunks and keep keys out of children's reach. If a child is missing, check the vehicle first, including the trunk.
- If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call the police. If they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
- Do things to remind yourself that a child is in the vehicle, such as:
- Writing yourself a note and putting the note where you will see it when you leave the vehicle;
- Placing your purse, briefcase or something else you need in the back seat so that you will have to check the back seat when you leave the vehicle; or
- Keeping an object in the car seat, such as a stuffed toy. When the child is buckled in, place the object where the driver will notice it when he or she is leaving the vehicle.