July - September 2021
CITY OF LAGUNA NIGUEL • LAGUNA NIGUEL POLICE SERVICES COMMUNITY PUBLICATION
Look Before You Lock
It ’ s summer and we all know how hot it can get . On a typical sunny day , the temperature inside a vehicle can reach a potentially deadly level within minutes . Never leave a child alone in a vehicle , not even for a minute . Babies and young children can sometimes sleep so peacefully that we forget they are even there . It can be tempting to leave a child in a car while you quickly run into the store . However , this is a dangerous idea . Young children are particularly at risk as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult ’ s . Leaving a child alone in a car can lead to serious injury or death from heatstroke . Every summer , heartbreaking and preventable deaths occur when children are left alone in hot cars . According to the nonprofit safety group Kids and Cars , more than 600 children have died this way since 1990 .
Parents never think they will forget their baby or child in the car , but even great parents can forget a sleeping child in the back seat . Part-time caregivers who don ’ t regularly transport the child are especially prone to forgetting . Therefore , it is important for all adults to “ Look before you lock ” to make sure there are no children left in the vehicle .
Some useful tips for parents of young children .
• Keep a familiar object in your child ’ s safety seat , such as a stuffed toy . When you remove it after buckling up your child , place the object in the front seat as a reminder to check the back for your child .
• Place something you need like your cell phone , handbag , briefcase , left shoe , etc ., in the back seat so you have to open the back door to retrieve that item when you park .
• Set a reminder on your cell phone to alert you to check that you dropped your child off at daycare .
• Ask your childcare center to call you if your child doesn ’ t arrive on time for childcare .
• Write yourself a note and place it where you ’ ll see it when you leave the vehicle .
• If you are dropping your child off at childcare , and it ’ s normally your spouse , partner , or caregiver who drops him / her off , have them call you to make sure the drop off went according to plan .
Be especially careful during busy times , schedule changes or periods of crisis or holidays . This is when many tragedies occur . Almost a third of kids who die in hot cars entered the car to play and got trapped .
• If a child goes missing , immediately check the inside passenger compartments and trunks of all vehicles in the area . A child may lock the car doors after entering a vehicle on their own , but may not be able to unlock them .
• Keep your keys and remote access devices out of a child ’ s reach . Don ’ t let kids play with them .
If you see a child in a hot car , get involved . Even if you are not a parent or caregiver you can play an important role in the safety of a child . If you happen to see a child alone in a hot vehicle , get involved . Call 9-1-1 immediately . Sometimes bystanders are reluctant to get involved . Surveys suggest 63 percent of adults just assume the parents will be right back . However , what if they aren ’ t ?