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July 31, 2013

Statewide campaign targets dangers of leaving children unattended in hot cars

Tweets, Facebook posts focus on "Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock"

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — The Indiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians (INAAP) is participating in a day-long social media campaign on July 31 to increase awareness about the dangers of leaving children unattended in cars. The Campaign is called “Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock.”

August generally brings Indiana’s highest temperatures and heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle related deaths for children under the age of 14, with national statistics showing at least 33 fatalities reported in 2011 alone. Safe Kids Worldwide and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will join together to promote National Heatstroke Prevention Day as part of the campaign.

“There is such a great need to educate the public about the dangers of leaving children unattended in hot vehicles — even for just a few minutes,” INAAP President Carolyn Lytle said in a news release. “Making a habit of stopping to look into the back of the car before locking the doors is a good way to make sure children are not accidentally left in a vehicle.

“Nationally, there have already been 24 deaths this summer. Every one of these tragedies is completely preventable,” Lytle added. “The campaign seeks to raise awareness about the effects of leaving children in cars by blanketing the nation with Tweets and Facebook posts every hour on the hour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.”

NHTSA’s “Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock” campaign urges parents and caregivers to take important precautions to prevent inadvertent incidents from occurring, including:

• Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle — even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on;

• Make a habit of looking in the vehicle — front and back — before locking the door and walking away;

• Ask the childcare provider to call you if the child does not show up for care as expected;

• Do things that serve as a reminder a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver’s view to indicate a child is in the car seat;

• Teach children a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child’s reach.

INAAP urges community members who see a child alone in a hot vehicle to immediately call 911 or the local emergency number. If the child is in distress due to heat they should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.

— News and Tribune

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