“Look Before You Lock” is a national and state campaign to bring awareness to the growing number of children being left in vehicles. It’s unfortunate to report that there have been several children in Texas this summer that have died of heat stroke due to being left in a vehicle. As Texas starts seeing consecutive days of triple digits, it is imperative that you look before you lock your vehicle and walk away.
Children being left in hot vehicles is the leading cause of non-crash related death for children 14 and younger. Although a true and actual death toll is not known as many death and injuries do go unreported, it is estimated that an average of 38 deaths occur each year. A reported 559 deaths since 1998 according to San Francisco State University’s Department of Geoscience.
Facts about heatstroke and why you should always look before you lock:
- Heatstroke begins when core body temperature reaches around 104 degrees and a core body temperature of 107 degrees is fatal.
- Heatstroke is known to occur when the outside temperature is as low as 57degrees.
- The internal temperature of a vehicle can increase 20 degrees in just 10 minutes.
- If the outside temperature is 80 degrees, a vehicle’s internal temperature can reach deadly level in just 10 minutes.
- Rolling a window down or parking in shaded areas will not reduce the dangers of heatstroke.
- A child’s body absorbs more heat which in return makes their body temperature rises 5 times faster than an adult putting children at a higher risk of hyperthermia or heatstroke
- 87% of child heatstroke fatalities occurred to children 3 years and younger
- 32 children lost their lives in 2012 as a result of being left in a hot unattended vehicle. Unfortunately, Texas leads the nation in child vehicle heatstroke deaths.
- 52% of children “forgotten” in a vehicle is a direct result of caregiver negligence
- 29% of heatstroke cases result from children getting into or playing in an unlocked and unattended vehicle
This is unacceptable and we all need to bring more awareness to this issue. Here are ways to prevent unnecessary deaths and remind you to always look before you lock:
- Place your purse or briefcase in the back seat so you are sure to look before you lock.
- Practice doing a full car scan before you walk away from your vehicle.
- Keep an object in the car seat that you physically move to the front where you can see when the child is in the back seat. Replace object when child is not in car seat.
- Ask your childcare provider to call you if your child does not arrive mirroring your normal routine.
- When your vehicle is unattended, lock your doors and teach your children that cars are not safe to play in.
If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, do not hesitate to contact 911 or emergency professionals. Together let’s keep our kids safe! Please remember to Look Before You Lock!