Where's Your Baby? Look Before You Lock
Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle-related deaths for children under the age of 14 in the United States
In a new ad campaign, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hopes to significantly reduce the number of child fatalities that occur each year from heatstroke after being left in a hot car with 'Where's baby? Look before you lock.'
Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle-related deaths for children under the age of 14 in the United States. There were at least 33 reported child deaths from heatstroke in 2011 alone. There were 49 fatalities in 2010.
The agency will begin by launching a series of national radio and online advertisements, as well as offer a tool kit for parents and grassroots organizations to utilize in local outreach on the issue. The NHTSA will also be releasing its findings on the effectiveness of after-market products that are intended to prevent a child from being unintentionally left behind in an enclosed parked vehicle.
"NCCC fully supports the efforts of the NHTSA to prevent these tragic accidental child deaths from occurring," said NCCC President Sandra Bullock. "We are completely committed to doing whatever we can to assist in spreading the word and helping to educate parents about this critical issue."
The NHTSA campaign advises parents and child caregivers to take a number of essential precautions, including:
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on.
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away.
- Ask the childcare provider to call if the child does not show up for care as expected.
- Do things that serve as a reminder a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidently left in the vehicle, writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver's view to indicate a child is in the car seat.
- Teach children a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child's reach.
NHTSA also urges community members to stay alert and be observant. If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately. The child should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible, by whatever means necessary.