Parents: Where's Baby? Look Before You Lock - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Parents: Where's Baby? Look Before You Lock

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ALEXANDRIA, La. – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, is reminding parents and caregivers that in the few minutes it may take to run a simple errand, the temperature inside of an enclosed vehicle can reach deadly levels even on a mild day. 

In 2011, at least 33 children in the United States lost their lives after being left in unattended motor vehicles, and an unknown number of children suffer moderate to severe, permanent injuries due to heatstroke each year.

It is a tragedy that happens far too often and can happen to anyone. With many states across the country already experiencing above-average temperatures, the risk of child heatstroke fatalities could be even greater in 2012, especially in "sun-belt" states.

Children's bodies overheat easily and when left in a hot vehicle, a young child's body temperature may spike three to five times faster than an adult. Even on a mild day (i.e. 70°), the temperature inside a car can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes.

HEATSTROKE PREVENTION – NHTSA'S KEY TIPS FOR PARENTS:

  • Never leave young children unattended—even with windows open or the air conditioning on.
  • Always make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front to back – before walking away.
  • Place your purse, briefcase or other items in the back seat so that you have to check the back seat before you leave the vehicle.
  • Set a reminder on your cell phone to alert you to be sure you dropped your child off at day care.
  • Have your childcare provider call you if your child does not show up for childcare by a certain time.
  • Always lock vehicle doors and trunk and keep the keys out of a child's reach.
  • If you see a child unattended in a hot car, call 911, and get the child out as quickly as possible.

According to research completed from 1998-2011 by SafeKids USA, approximately 50 percent of hyperthermia deaths among children in vehicles occurred when the child was "forgotten" by a distracted parent or caregiver; 30 percent of deaths occur when young children gain access to an unlocked, unattended vehicle or trunk, and 17 percent occurred when a child was intentionally left in a vehicle.

For more information, visit http://www.safercar.gov/parents/heatstroke.htm

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