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NHTSA Urges the Public to Help Prevent Child Heatstroke and “Stop. Look. Lock.”

National Heatstroke Prevention Day is today, May 1

| Washington, DC

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges everyone to help prevent child heatstroke fatalities by always checking their back seat and locking their vehicles before walking away. On National Heatstroke Prevention Day, NHTSA is launching a new campaign to prevent hot car deaths, Stop. Look. Lock., to educate parents and caregivers about the dangers of heatstroke and to always check a locked car before leaving. 

If someone sees a child left in a hot car, they should immediately call 911. Vehicles can heat up very quickly, with temperatures rising 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes, creating a deadly situation for a child locked inside. Twenty-nine children died from vehicular heatstroke in 2023. 

“The inside of a vehicle is never a safe place for a child to play or be left alone, because hot cars can be deadly for children in a matter of minutes. No one wants to think they could forget their child, but the facts show it can happen to anyone. Our Stop. Look. Lock. campaign educates and empowers parents and caregivers to make simple changes to prevent unimaginable tragedies,” said Sophie Shulman, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator.

Even on a cool, 60-degree day, a child can die in a hot car. Cracking the windows or parking in the shade does little to protect a trapped child, as children’s bodies warm three to five times faster than adult bodies. 

NHTSA reminds the public that everyone can do their part to keep children safe: 

  • By locking your car when it’s not in use, you can prevent children from gaining access to the vehicle and minimize the risk of them getting trapped.  
    • Even if you don’t have a child of your own, a child in the neighborhood could get into an unlocked vehicle, with tragic consequences. 
  • Never leave a child alone in a car, even if you think you’ll only be gone for a minute. 
    • Rolling down a window does little to keep a vehicle cool. 
    • Heatstroke can happen even on a relatively cool, 60-degree day. 
    • A vehicle can reach a dangerous temperature in as little as 10 minutes.  
  • When you’re driving with your child, remember Stop. Look. Lock. to make sure your child has been dropped off at daycare or with a caregiver, not left behind in the car seat. 
    • Keep an item in the back – like a teddy bear. Put the bear up front with you when your child is in their car seat to serve as a reminder. 
    • Or, put your bag or phone in the back with the child. 
  • Some new vehicles come with back seat reminder technology that will remind parents to check their vehicle before they leave.  
  • And if you see a child in distress in a vehicle – ACT. Call 911 immediately and get help. 

For more information, visit The new campaign material is available on

NHTSA 202-366-9550