Kids in cars: Look before you lock!

wheresbaby4I don’t get it, but it happens: On a beautful summer day, an adult forgets there’s a child in the back seat of car and leaves him there while running an errand. Or the adult remembers the child is there and leaves her there because this will take only a minute…

For the third year, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a national(U.S.)  radio and internet campaign, “Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock,” to remind parents, caregivers and grandparents that summer temperatures in a closed car can soar to heatstroke-inducing heights (and worse) in minutes.

The campaign began in May and runs through September. The NHTSA website offers tips for remembering to take children out of the car, even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on, and  has a variety of downloadable posters (some of which could usefully be printed as clingfilms and stuck to car windows as added reminders).

One reminder is perhaps not very helpful: The NHTSA’s first suggestion is to make a habit of looking in the front and back of the vehicle before locking the door and walking away. It seems to me that that’s the problem – people don’t remember.


However, the NHTSA also suggested putting something of real value –  such as a purse of briefcase, something you would never leave in full view in a car – in the back seat along with a child. Then, when you take the precious item, you’ll ideally notice the child and take him or her too.

I don’t know whether federal or provincial transportation departments or public health units have similar programmes (I don’t drive and I don’t listen to commercial radio), but it might be an idea to bring this campaign north next summer.~TM





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