“Look Before You Lock” to prevent heatstroke deaths in kids

As the days get hotter, it’s important to remember that a child’s temperature heats up five times faster than that of an adult’s. Last year 44 children died of heatstroke in the U.S. that’s why it is so dangerous to leave kids locked inside cars.

The Michigan State Police have a national program they’re supporting to keep children across the state safe from the blazing sun.

Leaving a child under the age of six years old unattended in a car is against the law. With the sun shining bright, cars can heat up to 110 degrees in just minutes. Even if you are just running into the store to pick up a really quick item, and will be right back, it still violates the state’s zero tolerance policy. If you are in violation, you can incur fines of up 10,000 dollars and/or up to 15 years in jail. The “Look before you Lock” campaign is already underway and the Michigan State Police are warning parents to be extra careful.

“Because children do fall asleep in vehicles and sometimes are very quiet and with a busy and hectic schedule you might not remember your child is in the back. Some of the things you can do is put your briefcase in the back or your cell phone and that you will remember those items that are in the back with your child,” said Trooper Stacey

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • 52% of kids are left in cars because they were forgotten.
  • 29% gained access by themselves and became trapped.
  • A staggering 18% were left inside intentionally, as is reportedly the case in a recent incident involving a Georgia man.

Justin Ross is currently on trial for murder and second degree child cruelty, after his son, Cooper Harris, died of heat stroke last month around some unusual circumstances. Ross says he went to work and forget to drop his 22 month-old son off at daycare, leaving the child in the hot car for about seven hours. Prosecutors say Harris wanted a child–free life.

They allegedly found evidence that Ross did an internet search on heat stroke deaths in the days and weeks leading up to the incident. Prosecutors also have video of Harris returning to his car after lunch. No one was able to in this case, but police say if you happen to see a child left unattended in a car, to act immediately. 63% of people who see children left in cars assume the parents will be right back. Officials recommend making sure the child is okay and responsive, first and foremost. If the child appears to be fine, quickly do everything you can to locate the parents. But if the child is not responsive and appears in distress, call 911 immediately. Then, they say get into the car to assist the child, even if that means breaking a window. After you get the child out, they must be cooled down rapidly by spraying them with cool water.

“Bystanders should know that States have “Good Samaritan” laws that protect them from lawsuits for getting involved to help a person in an emergency, so you can act and get involved without any unintended consequences, reports ABC 10’s and CW 5’s News Now, Reporter, Danielle Davis.