Children in the U.S. die every year from heatstroke after being left in a hot car, and this year we are asking you to help us share the message to “Look Before You Lock.” This is the fourth year of the “Look Before You Lock” campaign and once again Treasure Valley agencies and businesses are teaming up to remind everyone that it’s dangerous to leave kids, pets, and vulnerable loved ones inside cars.
“Heatstroke happens when the child’s body is unable to cool itself quickly enough and neurologic symptoms begin,” explained St. Luke’s Children’s Medical Director and Emergency Physician Dr. Kenny Bramwell. “A child’s body heats up three-to-five times faster than an adult. If the temperature elevation continues unabated, major organs begin to shut down and permanent brain or neurological injury can happen. When those excessive body temperatures are prolonged, the child can die. Sadly, it doesn’t take long for children to get that hot.”
“Responding to these calls is something that a first responder never wants to see. We want this message out there so that it is on everyone’s mind, every day. This is something that is preventable, by taking a moment to look before you lock,” said Ada County Paramedics Chief Shawn Rayne.
In Idaho, nine children since 1995 have died from heatstroke after being left in a car, and many of those were on days you would not consider to be “hot.” The inside of a car heats up fast even with the windows cracked. When it’s 75 outside, it can reach up to 94 degrees inside a car within ten short minutes, and 109 degrees in 30 minutes.
"Last year, the Idaho Humane Society responded to 408 calls of pets locked in hot cars right here in the Treasure Valley. Unfortunately, pets die each year in hot vehicles or live with long-lasting health consequences from suffering in hot cars. Please set your pet up for success by leaving them at home or finding alternative arrangements," relayed Kristine Schellhaas, public relations manager for the Idaho Humane Society.
In most cases when an individual or pet is left in a hot car, it’s an accident. Even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car. As part of the “Look Before You Lock” campaign, businesses in Ada and Canyon County will display posters on their front doors and St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital is handing out window clings to new parents. This year Kevin and Brenda from 101.9 The Bull are also partnering with us to share the Look Before You Lock message throughout the summer.
“If we all remember to share this reminder throughout the warm spring and summer months, who knows the lives we will save,” said Ed Fritz with the Boise Police Crime Prevention unit.
How you can help!
- Download a flyer to hang in the front door of your business
- Come to the Meridian or Boise Police Department and pick up a Look Before You Lock window cling to put in your car.
- You can click this link https://www.instagram.com/ar/263798165482342
or go to the Boise Police Department Instagram page and check out our stories or the “Filter” highlight to learn how to use it.
Other tips for protecting your family
- Never leave a child in an unattended car, even with the windows down.
- Check to make sure all children leave the car when you reach your destination.
- Don't overlook sleeping infants.
- Teach children not to play in or around cars.
- Keep car keys out of reach and sight.
- Always lock car doors and trunks, especially when parked in the driveway or near the home.
- Keep rear fold-down seats closed to help prevent kids from getting into the trunk from inside the car.
- Be wary of child-resistant locks. Teach older children how to disable the driver's door locks if they unintentionally become entrapped in a motor vehicle.
- Contact your automobile dealership about getting your vehicle retrofitted with a trunk release mechanism.