News From Our Blog

Help Us Tweet (and Facebook) to Beat Heatstroke on July 31

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.

Small parts in toys and games pose a choking hazard to children. Find out how small parts are measured and get tips for selecting safe toys for your children.

Tips For Buying Safe Toys

The holiday season is here, and many people will be buying toys for children. It’s a nice idea to get children something they like, but it’s more important to buy gifts that are safe, and age-appropriate.

Before you go shopping, check a list of recalled toys. These are toys that don’t meet the safety standards published by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Check this online list of recalled toys (see the section marked “toys”) or you can call 1-800- 638- 2772 to get the list.

Consider the child’s age

When buying toys for children, remember to consider their age and abilities.

  • Make sure to buy a toy that’s age appropriate. Generally, the recommended age range is printed on the package or in the instruction manual like this: 5-6 years or +5 years.
  • If the child you’re shopping for is under 8 years old, avoid buying toys with sharp points or toys that shoot. These types of toys can cause serious injuries.
  • Separate toys that belong to older children and store them where small children can’t reach them.

Take additional safety measures

  • Read product labels to make sure toys or items around the house do not contain lead. This harmful substance can affect a child’s health, even if only a small amount is inhaled or swallowed.
  • Don’t buy toys with parts that can be removed, like a doll’s eyes, buttons, coins, etc. A child can choke if they swallow these small toy parts.
  • When buying a battery-operated toy, make sure the battery compartment can’t be opened by a child. Avoid toys that have to be plugged in or that use electrical wires.
  • When a child opens a toy, immediately throw away packaging, including plastic wrappers, boxes, string or other packaging. Children can accidentally choke or harm themselves if they play with them.

Read this note in Spanish.

Is Your Child in the Right Car Seat?

Help to keep your child safe in the car by choosing the right car seat and installing it properly.

Visit SaferCar.gov to find out which type of restraint is appropriate for your child, based on his/her age and size (rear-facing car seat, forward-facing car seat, booster seat, or seatbelt). You’ll also find tips on installing car seats and positioning the harness on your child.

Once you’ve installed the car seat or booster seat, go to an inspection station near you to ensure that it’s properly installed.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

The most common cancers in children are different from the most common cancers in adults. More than half of childhood cancers are leukemias and cancers of the brain and central nervous system.

During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, visit the National Cancer Institute to:


Visit MedlinePlus for additional resources on childhood cancer. Topics include coping, nutrition, and finances.

If you are looking for health insurance, keep in mind that the new Health Insurance Marketplace begins enrollment on October 1, 2013 for coverage starting January 1, 2014.

Read this note in Spanish.