Jamie Niemerg, CPNP
Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Jasper County Medical Center
500 S. Scott Street
Newton, Illinois
(618) 783-2144


Look Before You Lock:  An Important Message That Could Save Your Child's Life

  • Know the facts:
    • In 10 minutes, a car’s temperature can rise over 20 degrees.
    • Even at an outside temperature of 60 degrees, the temperature inside your car can reach 110 degrees.
    • The body temperatures of children can increase three to five times faster than adults. Heat stroke begins when the body passes 104 degrees
    • A child dies when his/her body temperature reaches 107 degrees.
    • More than 70% of heat stroke deaths occur in children younger than age 2
    • An average of 38 children have died in hot cars each year in the USA since 1998
    • Roughly 30% of heat stroke deaths occur because the child got in the car without a caregiver knowing and couldn't get out
    • Cracking the windows or not parking in direct sunlight does not make a car significantly cooler. Heat stroke deaths have occurred even when the vehicle was parked in shade.
  • Ways to prevent heatstroke
    • Always check the back seats of your vehicle before your lock it and walk away.

o   Put your cell phone, purse or even your left shoe in the backseat so you remember to check the back.

o   Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat.

    • If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely
    • Remind everyone to "Look before you lock"
    • Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for one minute
    • Lock your car when you get out, even in garage or driveway
    • Never leave keys and automatic openers in children's reach
    • When a child is missing check vehicles and trunks  immediately
  • Warning Signs of Heatstroke
    • Red, hot, and moist or dry skin
    • No sweating
    • Strong, rapid pulse or slow, weak pulse
    • Nausea
    • Confusion or strange behavior

·         What to do if you see a child alone in a car

    • Don’t wait more than a few minutes for the driver to return.
    • If the child is not responsive or is in distress, immediately:
      • Call 911
      • Get the child out of the car.
      • Spray the child with cool water (not in an ice bath).
    • If the child is responsive:
      • Stay with the child until help arrives.
      • Have someone else search for the driver or ask the facility to page them