Look Before You Lock

Jacqueline Khalaf, BSN, RN, CPST, Injury Prevention and Community Outreach Coordinator, Trauma Department, Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician

The stories in the news are becoming too common:  “Child left alone in car dies.” 

Most parents believe it can never happen to them, but even the slightest change in routine or stress level can be a distraction that leads to the unthinkable.  Sleeping babies are so peaceful and it can be tempting to think that you can just run inside the store for a quick errand.  Never leave a child alone in a car.  Even a quick errand inside can lead to injury or death from heatstroke, even when the weather cools off.

Every 10 days, a child dies from heatstroke after being left in a car.  Last year alone, Texas tied with Florida for the number of cases of vehicular exhaustion. 

Here’s what you need to know about heat strokes in kids:

  • The temperature inside a car can rise 19 degrees or more in 10 minutes. 
  • Cracking windows does not help.
  • A child’s body heats up four to five times faster than an adult’s.

There are simple tips that can help:

  • Leave a cue in the back seat – a purse, work bag, or phone.
  • Have a plan with your daycare to check on your child.
  • Keep your car locked when you are not in it.
  • Don’t leave car remotes around children as they can get trapped in hot vehicles.
  • And always look before you lock!

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