Look Before You Lock

Every 10 days, a child dies from heatstroke after being left in a car.

By Jacqueline Khalaf, BSN, RN, CPST
Injury Prevention and Community Outreach Coordinator, Trauma Department
Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician

The stories in the news are becoming too common: “Child left alone in car dies.”

Most parents believe it can never happen to them, but even the slightest change in routine or stress level can be a distraction that leads to the unthinkable. Sleeping babies are so peaceful and it can be tempting to think that you can just run inside the store for a quick errand. Never leave a child alone in a car. Even a quick errand inside can lead to injury or death from heatstroke, even when the weather cools off.

Every 10 days, a child dies from heatstroke after being left in a car. Last year alone, Texas tied with Florida for the number of cases of vehicular exhaustion.

Here’s what you need to know about heat strokes in kids:

  • The temperature inside a car can rise 19 degrees or more in 10 minutes.
  • Cracking windows does not help.
  • A child’s body heats up four to five times faster than an adult’s.

There are simple tips that can help:

  • Leave a cue in the back seat – a purse, work bag, or phone.
  • Have a plan with your daycare to check on your child.
  • Keep your car locked when you are not in it.
  • Don’t leave car remotes around children as they can get trapped in hot vehicles.
  • And always look before you lock!