Warmer temperatures are hitting the Kansas City region this week. That means it’s time to be thinking about the “silent killer” heat waves. We can take steps to minimize the consequences of extreme heat, especially when it comes to vehicles and our children.

May 1 was national heatstroke prevention day with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Their campaign urges all parents and caregivers to remember to ask, “Where’s baby? Look before you lock” when driving with young passengers. 

Things to remember: 

  • Lock your car when you aren’t using it. 
    • Even if you don’t have a child of your own, a child in your neighborhood could get into your unlocked vehicle with tragic consequences.
  • Never leave your child alone in a car, even if you think you’ll only be gone for a minute.
    • Rolling down a window does little to keep a vehicle cool.
    • Heatstroke can happen even on a relatively cool day.
    • A vehicle can reach a dangerous temperature in as little as 10 minutes. 
  • When you’re driving with your child, remember always to look before you lock to make sure your child is not left behind in the car seat.
    • Keep an item in the backseat – like a teddy bear. Put the bear upfront with you when your child is in their car seat to serve as a reminder.
    • Or, put your purse or phone in the back with the child.
    • Some new vehicles even come with backseat reminder technology. 
  • If you see a child in distress in a vehicle, take action by calling 911 immediately and getting help.

The region’s emergency preparedness website, PrepareMetroKC.org, also provides information about excessive heat waves, urban heat islands in cities and what you can do to minimize risk to people, pets and children.