Parents and caregivers are being urged to “look before you lock” when driving with young passengers.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made the appeal to coincide with the May 1 National Heatstroke Prevention Day.

One of the biggest risk factors for heatstroke deaths is a change in routine. As parents and caregivers continue to shift their schedules due to changes in the pandemic, the risk of someone forgetting and leaving their child in the back seat increases.

“An average of 38 children die from heatstroke in hot vehicles each year,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator.

“Many deaths happen because the morning routine is different – for example, a caregiver taking a child to daycare who typically doesn’t do the drop off.

“We are asking all caregivers to look before they lock because changes in daily routines can lead to tragedy in just minutes.”

NHTSA’s “Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock” is a $3 million campaign to remind drivers to never leave children unattended in cars and to lock their cars when unoccupied to prevent children from entering unlocked vehicles.

NHTSA has offered the following tips and advice to help keep children safe:

  • Lock your car when you aren’t using it.
  • Even if you don’t have a child of your own, a boy or girl 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 to always Look Before You Lock to make sure your child has been dropped off at daycare or with a caregiver, not left behind in the car seat.
  • Keep an item in the back – like a teddy bear. Put the bear up front 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.