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Look Before You Lock: Precautions Save Lives

July 31 is National Heatstroke Prevention Day and with temperatures rising into the 90s, Beebe Healthcare is encouraging parents, grandparents, and caregivers to “Look Before You Lock.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Safe Kids Worldwide are highlighting the dangers of child heatstroke in hot cars during the summer months and urging parents and caregivers to think, “Where’s baby? Look before you lock."

“Sadly, I read reports every year about children dying from this easily preventable tragedy. According to the website Kids and Cars, 19 children have died already this year. Please take the time to make sure you always know where your child is and take all the steps you can to ensure no child is ever left in the car to die,” said Cheryl Hopple, RN, CHEP, Emergency Management Coordinator at Beebe Healthcare and Sussex County Safe Kids Committee Chairperson.

Prevent heatstroke and child deaths by taking the following precautions:

  • When the vehicle is parked, everyone should exit. Never leave a child or pet unattended in a vehicle on hot days, even if the windows are cracked. Even if the engine is running and the air conditioning is on, still do not leave your child in the car.
  • Look before you lock by checking your vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away.
  • Ask your childcare provider to call if the child does not show up for care as expected.
  • Create a habit that requires you to look in the back seat. Start placing your purse or briefcase or cell phone in the back of the car so you have to open the back door to retrieve it. This will ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle.
  • Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child’s reach to prevent a child from accidentally locking himself or herself in a parked vehicle.

If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, immediately call 911. A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.

Here are some tips to help cool a child quickly:

  • Bring the child indoors or into the shade immediately.
  • Undress the child.
  • Have the child lie down; elevate feet slightly.
  • If the child is alert, place in cool bath water. If outside, spray the child with mist from a garden hose.
  • If the child is alert and coherent, give frequent sips of cool, clear fluids.
  • If the child is vomiting, turn onto his or her side to prevent choking. (Source:

For more information and tips, go to: or to find out more about Kids and Cars, go to

Beebe Healthcare is a not-for-profit community healthcare system with a charitable mission to encourage healthy living, prevent illness, and restore optimal health for the people residing, working, or visiting in the communities we serve. It offers services throughout Southern Delaware for residents and visitors, including a 210-licensed-bed hospital, a cancer center, and outpatient facilities providing walk-in care, lab, imaging, and physical rehabilitation services. For more information, please visit us online at

Shown is Cheryl Hopple, RN, CHEP, Emergency Management Coordinator at Beebe Healthcare and Sussex County Safe Kids Committee Chairperson.