Fall is right around the corner but temperatures are still dangerously high in Arizona. During excessive heat warnings most people to know to limit time outdoors and carry water but each year children die of heatstroke after being accidentally left in a hot car. This is particularly worrisome this year as the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted family routines and parent’s minds are overloaded with other priorities.

At the beginning of July the US Department of Transportation launched a national campaign to prevent heat stroke deaths in hot cars. Their advice is simple: Park. Look. Lock.

Heatstroke deaths are completely preventable if parents follow these simple tips:

  1. Never leave your child alone in a car, even if it’s only for a quick errand. Cars heat up very quickly and cracking or opening a window does little to cool the car down. Heatstroke deaths have happened even when a car is parked in the shade. It’s easy to get distracted while running an errand and a child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult.
  2. Always check your back seat before leaving your car. Place a purse, phone or wallet in the back seat to remind you to double check for children. You can also place a stuffed animal on your front seat while children are riding in the back and move it into their seat when you take them out. Create a habit of checking child seats every time you leave the car. Sometimes children fall asleep in the car and the silence from the back seat combined with other distractions can lead to tragic outcomes. During this time everyone is dealing with a little more stress and distraction than before and we can all use a reminder to check for what’s most important.
  3. Always keep your car locked when you are not in it and keep keys out of reach of children. Teach your children that a car is not a safe place to play.
  4. If you see a child left in a car, call 911 and get help immediately.

You can find these tips and many more on the Safe Kids Worldwide website and in this infographic: