Sheriff Jay Koon

July 31 is Heatstroke Prevention Day.

In just 10 minutes, a car can heat up by 20 degrees, enough to kill a child left alone in the vehicle. A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s. Heatstroke begins to set in when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees (lethal at 107 degrees). I’d like you to help me raise awareness about the dangers of children left in hot cars. Dozens of children die every year because they are left unattended. Those deaths are completely preventable.

In fact, from 1998 to now, over 800 children across the nation died due to heatstroke in hot vehicles. Just as tragic, more than half (54 percent) of the child heatstroke deaths were because the child was forgotten in the vehicle by a distracted parent or caregiver (NHTSA). Take steps to avoid becoming a victim of this statistic:

  • Not accustomed to having a child in your car? Write a reminder note about checking the backseat on your dash so you’ll see it before you exit the vehicle.
  • Set a daily reminder on your cellphone, download a baby app, or ask your baby sitter to alert you to check if your child has been dropped off at day care.
  • Place a purse, briefcase, or phone in the back seat next to the car seat to remind yourself your child is in the car.
  • Always lock your car and never let children play in an unattended vehicle, even with the windows partly down or AC on.
  • Keep your keys out of children’s reach.
  • If you see a child locked in a hot car, take action. Check to see if they are OK and responsive. Locate their parents or call your local law enforcement agency immediately.

Remember: children and hot cars are a deadly combination. Don’t take the chance. Look Before You Lock. Together, we can raise awareness about the dangers of heatstroke and prevent another little life from being lost.