Where's baby? Look before you lock!

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Even on a mild day, a child trapped in a hot car can die of a heat stroke or hyperthermia in just minutes. On average, 38 children die in the U.S. each year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles. What is most tragic is that all of these deaths are completely preventable!

There are three simple things you can do to ensure that all children safely exit the vehicle after every trip:

  • Never leave a child alone in a vehicle.
  • Make it a habit to look in every seat every time before you exit the vehicle.
  • Always lock the vehicle and put the keys out of reach of children.

The Administration for Children and Families has teamed up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Safe Kids USA for the Look Before You Lock campaign which includes a website with free downloads so you can get involved. [go now]

Here are other valuable websites to help you keep your kids safe in the car:

Kids and Cars: How To Prevent Tragedy

  • Never leave your car keys where children can get them.
  • Keep car doors and trunks locked at all times, even in the garage or driveway.
  • Teach children not to play in or around cars.
  • Never leave your child unattended in a car, even if the windows are down and a wind shield shade is in place or even just to run a quick errand.
  • Make sure all children leave the vehicle when you reach your destination.
  • Don't overlook sleeping infants!
  • Make sure that the seat belt and seat surface are not too hot before buckling up your child.
  • When you and your children exit the car, place a windshield shade in front and back windows to help cut down on the heat.
  • Make sure that kids' arms, legs, fingers, and toes are safely inside before closing doors.
  • Keep the rear fold-down seats closed to prevent kids from getting into the trunk from inside the car.
  • Contact your auto dealership about getting your vehicle retrofitted with a trunk release mechanism.
  • Be wary of child-resistant locks - make sure they function.
  • If your child does get locked inside a car, get him or her out as soon as possible. If you can't get him or her out yourself, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

- adapted from Kids And Cars (www.kidsandcars.org) and National Safe Kids Campaign (www.safekids.org)