Driscoll Children’s Hospital urges parents to ‘look before you lock’


May 1, National Heatstroke Prevention Day

Do not leave children in cars: Even in cool temperatures, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. Even with the windows cracked open, interior temperatures can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes. Anyone left inside is at risk for serious heat-related illnesses or even death. Children who are left unattended in parked cars are at greatest risk for heat stroke, and possibly death.

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Driscoll Children’s Hospital is reminding parents of the danger of heatstroke when children are left unattended in vehicles as National Heatstroke Prevention Day nears.

“On average, 39 children die each year from heatstroke while alone in a hot vehicle. About half of these deaths are the result of a caregiver unintentionally leaving a child in the vehicle.”

Driscoll Children’s Hospital via a press release.

On mild days, cars can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes, according to Karen Beard, Injury Prevention Training Coordinator at Driscoll Children’s Hospital.

“Look before you lock,” Beard said. “It’s as simple as that, but too often parents are in a hurry and don’t remember to do so.”

883 children have died of heatstroke in cars since 1998, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.

Data from Jan Null, who has been tracking car heatstrokes, shows that Thursdays and Fridays have had the highest deaths.

Beard is asking the public to help protect kids by remembering to ACT:

  • A: Avoid heat stroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not inside so kids don’t get in on their own. 
  • C: Create reminders. Keep a stuffed animal or other mementos in your child’s car seat when it’s empty and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat.
  • T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel wants you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.

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