April 29, 2021 | Washington, DC
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today urged all parents and caregivers to make sure they remember “Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock” when driving with young passengers. Saturday, May 1, is National Heatstroke Prevention Day, an opportunity to remind everyone of the dangers that hot vehicles pose to children.
NHTSA’s “Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock” is a $3 million campaign to remind drivers to never leave children unattended in cars and to lock their cars to prevent children from entering unlocked vehicles. The annual heatstroke prevention campaign kicked off with virtual events in Atlanta and Houston, as NHTSA and safety stakeholders reminded the public of the dangers of leaving children in hot cars.
“No child should die because they were trapped in a hot car. Every child lost leaves a hole in their families that can never be filled, and we grieve with them. Parents and caregivers should make a plan to prevent heatstroke by always checking the back seat, locking their car at home, and never leaving a child in a car for any reason,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Acting Administrator.
Heatstroke in children can happen quickly, as their bodies are smaller, heat up faster, weigh less, and are more prone to the effects of extreme temperatures. Heatstroke fatalities can happen in vehicles parked in shaded areas and in temperatures as low as 57 degrees, even with the windows cracked.
Since 1998, 882 children have died due to pediatric vehicular heatstroke, an average of 38 children each year. In 2020, 24 children died in hot cars.
These tips can help prevent heatstroke in children:
- Check the back seat every time when leaving your vehicle. Place a stuffed animal or toy up front as a reminder, or place your purse or other important item in the backseat.
- Ask your child’s daycare or school to call if your child does not arrive.
- Keep parked vehicles locked at all times to prevent a child climbing in and becoming trapped, and keep the keys out of their reach.
- Teach children that vehicles are not a place to play.
- Never leave a child in a vehicle when running errands, not even for a minute.
- Bystanders can also play an important role in saving a life – if you see a child alone in a vehicle, call 911 and get help immediately.
To further raise awareness and prevention, NHTSA has convened the Heatstroke Working Group with safety advocates, industry leaders, first responders and employers to amplify the message of heatstroke prevention to wider audiences.
For more information, please visit NHTSA.gov/heatstroke.