ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - The government is urging people to "Look Before You Lock" -- specifically, look out for children to keep them from being left unattended in hot vehicles.
The U.S. Department of Transportation says there have been at least 23 deaths so far this summer resulting from children being left in hot cars.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have issued a joint letter addressed to the nation's Head Start directors and child care providers. The secretaries are urging them to take advantage of the "Look Before You Lock" campaign materials by sharing them with staff, families and other community members.
Research by the DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle deaths for children under the age of fourteen.
When outside temperatures are in the low 80s, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only 10 minutes, even with a window rolled down two inches. Children's bodies overheat four to five times as quickly as an adult, and infants and children under four years old are at the greatest risk for heat-related illness.
The Associated Press