Leaving Children Alone in Hot Cars - Know the Risks and Consequences

Leaving a child alone in a vehicle can lead to tragedy. These deaths, while accidental, are always preventable. 

Here are some helpful tips to make sure it doesn't happen to your family.

• Never leave a child alone in a parked car, even with the windows rolled down or the air conditioning on. A child's body temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult. A core body temperature of 107 degrees is lethal.
• Always look in both the front and back of the vehicle before locking the door and walking away.
• Heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees. On an 80-degree day, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes.
• Never let children play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them a vehicle is not a play area.
• Always lock your vehicle doors and trunk and keep the keys out of a child's reach. If a child is missing, quickly check all vehicles, including the trunk.

Is dropping off a child not part of your normal routine? Come up with some ways to remind yourself that the child is in the car.
• Place a briefcase, purse, or cell phone next to the child's car seat so that you'll always check the back seat before leaving the car.
• Call your spouse or another caregiver to confirm you've dropped your child off.
• Have your child care provider call you if your child doesn't arrive.
• Write a note and place it on the dashboard of your car or set a reminder on your cell phone or calendar.

If you see a child alone in a vehicle:
• Always make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.
• If the child appears to be okay, attempt to locate the parents or have the facility's security or management page the car owner over the PA system.
• If the child is not responsive and appears to be in distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child—even if that means breaking a window—many states have "Good Samaritan" laws that protect people from lawsuits for getting involved to help a person in an emergency.
Remember: kids and hot cars are a deadly combination. Don't take the chance. Look Before You Lock.