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Hot weather reminder: Look before you lock

With temperatures on the rise, it's important to remember to not leave our tiny sidekicks behind. Look before you lock and walk away from your car.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As the mercury in the thermometer continues to rise, it's an important reminder to double check the back seat before you walk away from your car.

Temperatures quickly heat up and rise at a very rapid rate within the first 15 minutes -- up to 115° in the first 5 minutes, up to 130° in the first 15 minutes, and up to 150° or greater in 30+ minutes.

Children being left in a hot car -- it's a story we hear all too often and can easily be prevented. Here is what parents and caretakers need to know about the danger of hot cars and the steps they can take to keep their children safe.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there have been 883 child hot car deaths since 1998. 

A great tip is to get in the habit of always looking inside your car before locking the doors. Remember: Park. Look. Lock. And always ask yourself, "Where's baby?"

Here are some safety reminders from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Always check the back seat and make sure all children are out of the car before locking it and walking away.

  • Avoid distractions while driving, especially cell phone use.

  • Be extra alert when there is a change in your routine, like when someone else is driving your child or you take a different route to work or child care.

  • Have your child care provider call if your child is more than 10 minutes late.

  • Put your cell phone, bag, or purse in the back seat, so you check the back seat when you arrive at your destination.

  • If someone else is driving your child, always check to make sure he has arrived safely.

  • Keep your car locked when it is parked to prevent a curious child from entering when no one is around. Many hot car deaths have occurred when a child mistakenly locks himself inside.

  • Make sure children do not have easy access to your car keys. Store them out of a child's reach.

  • Teach children that cars are not safe places to play.

  • Keep rear fold-down seats closed to prevent a child from crawling into the trunk from inside the car.

  • Remind children that cars, especially car trunks, should not be used for games like hide-and-seek.

If you see something, say something.

Take action if you see a child in a car alone. If the child appears to be okay, attempt to locate the parents; if at a public place, have the facility page the car owner over an intercom system. If the child is not responsive and appears to be in distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child—even if that means breaking a window. Many states have “Good Samaritan” laws that protect people from lawsuits for getting involved to help a person in an emergency.

Kids and hot cars can be a deadly combination. Don’t take the chance. Always look in the front and back of the vehicle before locking the door and walking away.