By National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Acting Administrator David Friedman
Summer is supposed to be a time of fun and freedom for children. But, too often during the summer months, a child left alone in a vehicle dies due to heatstroke. Already this year 18 children died due to heatstroke, in addition to the 44 children we lost in 2013.
To help parents and caregivers protect children, NHTSA launched the “Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock” public education campaign. The campaign’s web page – safecar.gov/heatstroke – seeks to arm parents, caregivers, and bystanders with the information they need to protect our kids.
This year, we’re also again asking everyone on Twitter and Facebook to help spread our lifesaving message as part of Heatstroke Awareness Day on July 31.
To prevent heatstroke, parents need to understand that vehicles heat up quickly—even with a window rolled down two inches. If the outside temperature is in the low 80s degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only 10 minutes.
Heatstroke is a serious risk even with temperatures in the 60s or 70s and cracking a window does not help. When a child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees that child dies.
The threat of heatstroke is real, which is why NHTSA offers helpful tips on how to help keep children safe at safercar.gov/heatstroke. We hope that you’ll help share this advice on Facebook and on Twitter on July 31.
Along with our partners, Safe Kids and the Administration for Children and Families, we’ll be tweeting and posting every 30 minutes from 8 AM to 4 PM. Our Twitter account - @NHTSAgov – will be using the hashtags #checkforbaby and #heatstrokekills on all of our social media posts, and we’d like you to do the same.
Our commitment to preventing heatstroke extends all the way up to the Secretary’s Office at the U.S. Department of Transportation and throughout the federal government.
Secretary Anthony Foxx and I recently visited the Rosemount Early Childhood Development Center in Northwest Washington to warn of the danger of heatstroke. We were also joined by Mark Greenberg, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, who spoke about HHS’ efforts to spread the word and combat heatstroke.
But the most powerful message sent at our heatstroke event came from Reginald McKinnon, who lost his 2-year old daughter when he accidentally left her in his vehicle four years ago. His story is a heart wrenching reminder that this tragedy can happen to anyone. Reggie has shown great courage by choosing to dedicate his time to helping parents avoid a similar tragedy.
Every single death from leaving children in hot cars is 100 percent avoidable, and even one heatstroke death is too many. To learn more about how you can help keep children safe visit safercar.gov/heatstroke. And please join with us on Facebook and Twitter on July 31 to help spread the word that heatstroke kills.