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Safety Advisory: NHTSA urges Americans to NEVER leave children unattended in a vehicle as forecasts warn of dangerous heat wave

With potentially deadly high temperatures expected to bake as much as two-thirds of the United States through this weekend, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reminding Americans of the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles. Already this year, 21 deaths have been reported nationwide.

NHTSA further cautions owners to keep their vehicles locked at all times when parked to prevent a child climbing in and becoming trapped. And never leave a child in a vehicle when running errands, even for a minute.

It doesn’t take long for the inside of a vehicle to reach potentially lethal temperatures. In 10 minutes, a car can heat up by 20 degrees. Rolling down a window does little to keep a vehicle cool, and heatstroke deaths have occurred even in vehicles parked in shaded areas.

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.

    “These tragedies could happen to anyone, but they are also preventable. No child’s life should be at risk from accessing an unlocked car or being left behind. We want everyone to be aware of the danger of heatstroke in cars, and we urge anyone who sees a child left in a car to take action and call 911 – you could save a life.”

    —NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King

    Help us spread the warning about the dangers of heatstroke and share these tips for parents, caregivers and bystanders:

    • NEVER leave a child in a vehicle unattended.
    • Make it a habit to look in the back seat EVERY time you exit the car.
    • ALWAYS lock the car and put the keys out of reach.  
    • If you see a child left in an unattended vehicle, call 911 and get help immediately. 

    Kids and hot cars can be a deadly combination. Don’t take the chance and always "Look Before You Lock."

    NHTSA 202-366-9550