Speeches and Presentations

Talking Points: Safe Kids Heatstroke Press Conference

Dr. Mark R. Rosekind , NHTSA Administrator

Friday, July 31, 2015 | Washington, D.C.

Mark R. Rosekind, Ph.D.
Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
Friday, July 31, 2015
As Prepared for Delivery

It takes all of us – NHTSA, emergency responders, safety advocates like Safe Kids, alert parents and caregivers – to prevent these tragedies. All have a role.

Let me tell you what NHTSA is doing, and what anyone can do.

At NHTSA, to save lives, we encourage groundbreaking technology solutions and innovative public awareness campaigns.

On heatstroke, we’re doing both.

Today, NHTSA is releasing a technical paper that provides a roadmap for how to develop electronic systems that can alert someone when a child is left in a car.

It provides manufacturers with guidance to develop effective, dependable systems as a backstop when parents or caregivers have that distracted, forgetful moment that can cost a young life. It lays out the features and capabilities NHTSA sees as most important in such systems, and test procedures for evaluating how well they meet those guidelines.

In May, we launched our annual “Where’s Baby – Look Before You Lock” campaign.

Nationwide radio and online ad campaign runs until September, on English and Spanish media, alerting parents to heat stroke.

In addition to parents, it encourages all of us to be alert to this danger and to take action if we see a child in distress. The message:

“Do whatever it takes to get that child out and call 911 right away.”

Just last week in Kansas, a shoe store manager saw a 2-year-old girl locked in a hot car.

“She was so drenched in sweat and I just started crying,” the woman said.

She didn’t just cry. She grabbed a tire iron and started swinging. She and other bystanders broke the window and saved that little girl.

We all need to play our role.

NHTSA will keep working on technology solutions, and keep alerting the public to this danger.

Parents, grandparents, caregivers – do whatever it takes to make sure you look before you lock. Leave your purse, your wallet, your left shoe in the backseat with baby. Look every single time you lock the car.

And all of us need to be alert. If you see a child, do like those heroes in Kansas – do whatever it takes to get the child out, and call 911 for medical help right away. If we play our role, we can read fewer stories about the tragic loss of a young life, and more about people who make a life-saving difference.