In last week’s Koon’s Watch, I shared with you three things parents and caregivers can do to make sure a child is never left in a hot car.

But what should you do if you see a child in a hot car as you make your way inside a grocery store or in a neighbor’s driveway?

Sometimes bystanders are reluctant to get involved; surveys suggest that 63 percent of adults just assume the parents will be right back. But what if they aren’t?

  • Make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.
  • If the child appears to be okay, attempt to locate the parents or have the facility’s security or management page the car owner over the PA system.
  • If there is someone with you, one person should actively search for the parent while the other waits at the car.
  • If the child is not responsive or appears to be in distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child.

Know the warning signs of heatstroke, which include red, hot, and moist or dry skin; no sweating; a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse; nausea; confusion; or acting strangely. If a child exhibits any of these signs after being in a hot vehicle, quickly spray the child with cool water or with a garden hose— NEVER put a child in an ice bath.

So if you happen to see a child alone in a hot car, do not hesitate—please act before it’s too late!

We need parents, caregivers and bystanders all working together to help end these tragic heatstroke deaths—because hot cars kill children.