"Where's baby? Look before you lock," a new public safety awareness campaign asks. The National Highway Traffic Safety administration announced today that due to the unseasonably warm temperatures around the country, they would begin their first national campaign to prevent child heatstroke deaths in cars.
Heatstroke is a surprisingly common cause of death for children under the age of 14. 33 fatalities were reported last year. In 2010, 49 deaths were caused by hyperthermia - also known as heatstroke. Many other children are injured each year because of heatstroke, suffering ailments like brain injury, blindness, and loss of hearing. Many heatstroke deaths and injuries are caused by children playing in an unlocked car unbeknownst to parents. Other accidents occur when a parent or caregiver accidenly forgets a sleeping baby in a rear-facing carseat in the back of a car.
As a NC injury attorney, it breaks my heart to hear the number of children killed each year by heatstroke. Never leave a child unattended in a vvehicle, even if the air conditioning is on or the windows are rolled down. Always double check your car before locking the doors and walking away. If you tend to be forgetful, do things that can serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the back next to your child's car seat. Always teach kids that cars aren't play areas. And of course, keep carkeys out of reach.
If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, immediately call 911.