NHTSA Reminds Parents to Look Before You Lock

Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urged parents and caregivers alike to remember “Where’s Baby?” When driving with children, look before you lock. Saturday May 1st is National Heatstroke Prevention Day. This day allows us to remind everyone about the dangers hot vehicles present to children.

NHTSA’s “Where’s Baby? The $3 million campaign “Look Before You Lock” reminds drivers not to leave their children in cars, and to lock cars to stop children getting into unlocked cars. NHTSA and safety officials reminded the public about the dangers of children being left in hot cars during the annual heatstroke prevention campaign. “No child should be left in a hot vehicle. We grieve for every child who is lost.

“Parents and caregivers need to make a plan for heatstroke prevention. They should check the back seat and lock their car at home. Never leave a child in a vehicle for any reason,” Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA Acting Administrator, said. Children can get heatstroke quickly because their bodies are smaller and more susceptible to extreme temperatures. Vehicles left in shade, at temperatures below 57 degrees and with windows closed can lead to heatstroke deaths. In 1998, 882 children died from pediatric vehicular heatstroke. This is an average of 38 children per year. In 2020, 24 children died in hot cars.

These tips can help prevent heatstroke in children:

  • When you leave your car, make sure to check the back seat. As a reminder, place a toy or stuffed animal in the front seat. You can also keep your purse or other important items in the back seat.
  • If your child is not at school or daycare, ask them to contact you.
  • To prevent children from climbing into parked cars and getting trapped, keep them locked and the keys out of reach.
  • Teach children that vehicles should not be used as a playground.
  • When running errands with children, never leave them in the vehicle.
  • A bystander can also save a life. If you see a child in distress in a car, call 911 immediately to get help.

NHTSA created the Heatstroke Working Group, which includes safety advocates, industry leaders, and employers, to spread the message about heatstroke prevention to a wider audience. For more information, please visit NHTSA.gov/heatstroke.

Updated 01/24/22