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Sheriff Koon's Column: Look Before You Lock

Lexington, SC (05/13/2021) - As the temps ramp up for the heart of spring and into the summer here in Lexington County, I want to take a moment to remind you of some heatstroke prevention steps to protect your children and other little ones in your life.

National Heatstroke Prevention Day was May 1. In only 10 minutes, a car can heat up by 20 degrees. That’s more than enough to kill a child. A little one’s body heat can raise up to five times faster than an adult. Death for a child happens when their core body temperature reaches 107 degrees.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 882 children have died due to being stuck inside a hot car since 1998. Here are a few more statistics reported by NHTSA:


· National average of child heatstroke deaths per year since 1998: 38

· Child heatstroke deaths in 2020: 24

· Child heatstroke deaths in 2019: 53

· Child heatstroke deaths in 2018: 53

All of these deaths could have been prevented.

Every parent will say they would never forget their child in a hot car, but even the best parents can forget a quietly sleeping child in a backseat. What are some ways you can avoid this tragedy?


· Set a reminder on your phone

· Put your purse or workbag in the back seat beside the car seat to make sure you look back there.

· Write a reminder to yourself and place it on your dashboard.

· Ask your day care to call you if your child doesn’t arrive.

· Keep your keys out of children’s reach

If you are a bystander and see and child stuck inside a hot car alone, make sure the child is OK and responsive; try to find the parents. If the child is not OK and unresponsive, call 911 immediately. We can all come together to raise awareness about the dangers of heatstroke- because hot cars kill children.


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