Look before you lock your car

Special to the Altus Times

Jackson County and City of Altus officials issued a warning to check their cars before locking the doors.

A child in Mississippi became the sixth child in the nation to die of heat stroke after being left in an automobile, according to Lloyd Colston, Altus emergency management director.

The temperature was reportedly 85 degrees on the day the child died.

“It does not take much heat to cause a child to have heat stroke in a car,” said Wayne Cain, Jackson County emergency management deirector. “In January, the outside temperature was only 52 degrees in Georgia when the first case occurred this year.”

A YouTube video at shows how uncomfortable a car can be to a meteorologist in 90 degree outdoor heat.

Safety tips from www.kidsandcars.org include:

• Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.

• “Look Before You Lock” — Get in the habit of always opening the back door to check the back seat before leaving your vehicle. Make sure no child has been left behind.

• Create a reminder to check the back seat. Put something you’ll need like your cellphone, handbag, employee ID or briefcase, etc., in the back seat so that you have to open the back door to retrieve that item every time you park. Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It’s a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.

• Make sure you have a strict policy in place with your childcare provider about daycare drop-off. Everyone involved in the care of your child should always be aware of their whereabouts. If your child will not be attending daycare as scheduled, it is the parent’s responsibility to call and inform the childcare provider. If your child does not show up as scheduled; and they have not received a call from the parent, the childcare provider pledges to contact you immediately to ensure the safety of your child. (this is very similar to the ‘absence-line’ used by most elementary, middle and high schools)

• Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in driveways or garages. Ask home visitors, child care providers and neighbors to do the same. Keep car keys and remote openers out of reach of children.

• If a child goes missing, immediately check the inside passenger compartments and trunks of all vehicles in the area very carefully, even if they are locked. A child may lock the car doors after entering a vehicle on their own, but may not be able to unlock them.

• If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately. If the child seems hot or sick, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.

• Be especially careful during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays. This is when many tragedies occur.

• Use drive-thru services when available (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.) and pay for gas at the pump.

• This can happen to anyone, stated Colston. From parents, to grandparents, to caregivers, no one is immune to this accident.

“Please follow the tips,” said Cain, “so an accident does not become a tragedy.”

Follow #LOOKB4ULock on Twitter and Facebook for more information. For more information about emergency management, visit http://altusem.blogspot.com or call Cain at 580-482-0229 or Colston at 580-481-2260 Colston.

Special to the Altus Times

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