Office of Early Learning reminds you to "double check the back."
Tallahassee, Fla. – Vehicular heatstroke is one of the leading causes of death among children. It only takes 10 minutes for a vehicle’s temperature to rise over 20 degrees, even with the windows cracked. With windows closed if the temperature outside is 60 degrees, the inside of your car or van can reach 110 degrees. Babies and young children are especially susceptible to heatstroke. A child dies when their body temperature reaches 109 degrees.
With these facts in mind, the Office of Early Learning is running a social media campaign throughout the month of September to raise awareness of the risk of vehicular heatstroke. The campaign will use #doublechecktheback to remind parents, child care providers and caregivers of the importance of double checking the backseat when traveling with a child.
A large number of vehicular heatstroke incidents occur as accidents by parents who are otherwise loving, engaged and attentive to their children. However, a busy morning or change in routine can cause a parent to forget their child in the backseat and lead to tragedy. Additionally, babies and young children often fall asleep during car trips, making it even easier to forget your precious cargo.
It’s vitally important to remember never to leave a child alone in a hot vehicle, not even for a minute. There are several tips to help parents and caregivers remember to double check the backseat. One is to put something in the backseat, such as your purse, wallet, cell phone or other important item. This will require you to check the back before leaving your vehicle. Another tip is to place a visual reminder in the front seat next to you, such as a teddy bear or other memento. When you glance at the memento, you’ll be reminded to double check the back. If a change in your routine does occur and someone else is transporting your child, it’s important to check in to make sure your child has arrived at their destination safely.
Technology allows even more ways to keep children safe from heatstroke. The Waze app and the Kars 4 Kids app both provide options to alert you via your phone to check the backseat whenever you exit your vehicle.
If you happen to come across a child left unattended in a vehicle, you should take action immediately. Call 911 and then try to remove the child from the car if you are able, as it only takes minutes for a child to begin suffering from heatstroke.
At home, always keep your vehicle locked and teach your child that it is not safe to play inside or near vehicles.
We encourage early learning coalitions, child care providers and child safety organizations to join in on the #doublechecktheback initiative to spread awareness and help prevent avoidable tragedies. Fact sheets about vehicular heatstroke, flyers with tips and more resources can be found on safercar.gov and kidsandcars.org.