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Don’t Leave Kids or Pets Unattended in Vehicles

Look before you lock -- don't leave children or pets unattended in vehicles

Posted at 10 a.m.

Every summer there seems to be a heartbreaking story of a child who was accidentally left in a hot car.

Heatstroke is one of the leading causes of death among children. Unfortunately, even great parents can forget a child in the back seat. Other risk factors include caregivers who aren’t used to driving kids or whose routine suddenly changes. So remember — look before you lock. Always check the back seats of your vehicle before your lock it and walk away.

You can also keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. And if someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.

Want to see why it’s so critically important to take these steps? Watch this video to see how quickly the temperature can rise inside a vehicle.

For more on keeping kids safe, including what you can do if you see a child alone in a car , visit

Never Leave a Child in a Vehicle Unattended

Posted at 11:55 a.m.

Heatstroke is the number two killer of children behind car crashes. That’s why we’ve joined with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to attempt to reduce these deaths by reminding you — especially parents and caregivers — about the dangers of heatstroke and leaving children in hot cars.

As outside temperatures rise, the risks of children dying from being left alone inside a hot vehicle also rises. According to, one child dies from heatstroke nearly every 10 days from being left in a hot vehicle. In 2014 there were at least 30 heatstroke deaths of children in vehicles. What is most tragic is that the majority of these deaths could have been prevented.

Please remember these three things:

  1. Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended.
  2. Make it a habit to look in the backseat every time you exit the car.
  3. Always lock the car and put the keys out of reach.

Don't Forget to Look Before You Lock

If you are a bystander and see a child unattended in a vehicle:

  • Always make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • If the child appears ok, you should attempt to locate the parents; or have the facility’s security or management page the car owner over the public address system.
  • If there is someone with you, one person should actively search for the parent while someone waits at the car.
  • If the child is not responsive and appears in great distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child, even if that means breaking a window.

Never leave children unattended in vehiclesChildren’s body temperatures can rise up to five times faster than that of an adult, and heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees. On an 80-degree day, a car can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes.

Know the warning signs of heatstroke, which include:

  • Red, hot and moist or dry skin.
  • No sweating.
  • A strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse.
  • Nausea.
  • Confusion or acting strangely.

If a child exhibits any of these signs after being in a hot vehicle, cool the child rapidly by spraying them with cool water or with a garden hose — never an ice bath. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

According to, 59 percent of all vehicle-related heatstroke deaths in children are caused by a child accidentally being left in the car; 29 percent are from a child getting into a hot car on their own. Remember to “look before you lock.”Look before you lock

Be Prepared for Back-to-School and Emergencies

Posted at 3:30 p.m. 

School BusThe end of summer brings the start of another school year, full of opportunity to get involved in fresh activities and learn something new. Deciding on new school supplies and planning the outfit you’ll wear on the first day of school is part of being prepared. But, are your child(ren) and family prepared for emergencies?

The back-to-school season also presents the opportunity to get prepared for emergencies, especially as family routines oftentimes change during the school year and disasters may not occur while family is together.

Do you and your children know the following information without cellphone access? Is it handy in wallets, backpacks, briefcases and more?

  • Family phone numbers.
  • Addresses for home, school and work.
  • Meeting location (one near your house and outside your neighborhood).
  • Out-of-state contact for household members to notify they are safe.

Inquire about emergency plans at places where your family frequently spends their time:

  • Work.
  • Daycare and school.
  • Houses of worship.
  • Sports arenas and venues.

Involving your children in making your family’s emergency plan helps them know what to do and reduces stress during times of emergency. Make your family emergency plan at

Shopping for school supplies? Pick up an extra backpack or use an old one and enjoy a family night of making emergency go-kits. Emergency kits need to be customized to each person’s individual needs.

Learn more about how to make an emergency kit at

Fairfax County Public Schools Closed Tuesday, March 4

All Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) will be closed on Tuesday, March 4. School offices will be open with an unscheduled leave policy in effect. School Age Child Care (SACC) centers also will be  closed.

The following activities in schools and on school grounds are cancelled:

  • Extracurricular activities.
  • Interscholastic contests.
  • Team practices.
  • Field trips.
  • Middle school after-school programs.
  • Professional learning and training courses.
  • All adult and community education classes.
  • Recreation programs and community use by outside groups not affiliated with FCPS.

For more information from FCPS, go to

Video: Summer Heat Safety Tips to Keep Kids Safe in Cars

Posted at 1 p.m.

Leaving a child or pet in an unattended vehicle is preventable. Unfortunately though, it does happen. The Kids and Cars organization reports that since 1998, an average of 38 children die every year from vehicular heat stroke.

In the video below, Lucy Caldwell of our Police Department offers some tips parents and caregivers can use to ensure that our most precious cargo — our children — are never left unattended in a vehicle again.


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