KidsAndCars.org reminds public to 'Look before you lock!'
IRDEL COUNTY, N.C. (KYMA, KECY) - Iredell County Sheriff's Office confirms that a North Carolina 5-month-old baby lost her little life after being left alone in a hot car Sunday. This is the first hot car death of the year.
Saturday honors National Heatstroke Prevention Day. Though it is too late for this little girl, Kids and Car Safety need to double our efforts to focus on education and awareness regarding the dangers of hot cars.
"After more than 20 years of public education, the number of children dying in hot cars has gotten worse, not better," stated Janette Fennell, president of Kids and Cars Safety. "The years 2018 and 2019 were the worst in history with a total of over 100 children that died in hot cars nationwide," she continued.
According to Kids and Car Safety, nearly 1,000 children have died in hot cars nationwide since 1990. Even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car; and the end result can be injury or even death.
Look Before You Lock Safety Checklist
Make sure your child is never left alone in a car:
- Place the child’s diaper bag or item in the front passenger seat as a visual cue that the child is with you.
- Make it a habit of opening the back door every time you park to ensure no one is left behind. To enforce this habit, place an item that you can’t start your day without in the back seat (employee badge, laptop, phone, handbag, etc.)
- Ask your childcare provider to call you right away if your child hasn’t arrived as scheduled.
- Clearly announce and confirm who is getting each child out of the vehicle. Miscommunication can lead to thinking someone else removed the child.
Make sure children cannot get into a parked car:
- Keep vehicles locked at all times, especially in the garage or driveway. Ask neighbors and visitors to do the same.
- Never leave car keys within reach of children.
- Use childproofing knob covers and door alarms to prevent children from exiting your home unnoticed.
- Teach children to honk the horn or turn on hazard lights if they become stuck inside a car.
- If a child is missing, immediately check the inside, floorboards, and trunk of all vehicles in the area carefully, even if they’re locked.
Education and public awareness are important, but may not be enough. Children will continue to die in hot cars until technological solutions that can sense the presence of a child are standard in all vehicles.
"The only thing more tragic than a child or animal dying in a hot car is knowing that there are solutions that exist that could prevent this. By not utilizing available technology to sense a child or pet alone inside a vehicle, we are shamefully allowing this to happen over and over again. The price of inaction is the life of children and that is unacceptable," expressed Amber Rollins, Director of Kids and Car Safety.
The Hot Cars Act is a federal bill that will be reintroduced in the coming weeks that requires technology that can detect the presence of a child in all new vehicles to prevent hot car injury and death. This technology is readily available and affordable.