Look Before You Lock: Campaign aims to reduce heatstroke deaths related to vehicles

As temperatures rise, Greene County Public Health along with Greene County Safe Communities Coalition and the National Highway Traffic Administration launched a campaign to warn families about the dangers of heatstroke.

The Look Before You Lock campaign calls attention to children getting heatstroke when left alone in the car. The call to action comes after there were 52 preventable deaths of children in cars in 2019.

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Children are at risk due to their body temperatures rising five times faster than an adults. This means that heatstroke can occur on days as cool as 57 degrees, and on an 80-degree day a car temperature can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes.

Greene County Public Health encourages people to know the signs of heatstroke including red, hot and moist or dry skin; no sweating, a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse; nausea; confusion; or acting strangely. If there is a child displaying any of these signs call 911 or your local emergency number and spray the child with cool water or with a garden hose. Do not put the child in an ice bath.

The campaign challenges people to take action if they see a child alone in a hot vehicle. The bystander should check if the child is responsive and if not, call 911. If the child is responsive they should try to seek out the parent or guardian. Ohio and other states have “Good Samaritan” laws that protect people who get involved in emergency situations. If a child is in distress, attempt to reach the child even if that means breaking the car window.

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“More than half (54%) of all vehicle-related heatstroke deaths in children are caused by a child accidentally being left in the car, and 26% are from a child getting into a hot car unsupervised,” said Jillian Drew, health educator and head of the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition through Greene County Public Health. “We want to get the word out to parents and caregivers: please Look Before You Lock.”

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