Delray Fire Dept launches 'Look before you lock' initiative to prevent child deaths in hot cars

Pick up placards at fire stations schools daycares
Posted at 5:50 PM, Jul 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-06 17:50:09-04

This week’s near-record temperatures and soaring heat index prompted one local fire department to issue a warning: look before you lock your car!
Paramedics said leaving a child behind can be turn dangerous, or deadly, in just minutes.  

It happens too often: a dad or a mom leaves leaves children in the car.

NewsChannel 5 cameras caught a woman leave a boy and infant in the backseat as she went inside a convenience store to pay for gasoline today.

She was only gone for a couple of minutes, but the heat index was at 105 degrees.

“Yes, it's very hot, but I just went to pay,” the woman said. “I didn’t take more than two minutes and came back again.”

Delray Beach firefighter/paramedic Captain Kevin Saxton said it takes about ten minutes in a hot car for the heat to take its toll.  

“The organs are shutting down, the brain is overheating and it's a deadly issue,” Saxton explained a heat stroke. 

A watchdog group reports an average of 38 children die in the United States in a hot car every year. The Delray fire department responded to one such death in 2010.

Saxton showed NewsChannel 5 how intense the heat can be. He parked a car in the sun. In 30 minutes, the temperature on a garden thermometer soared from 89 degrees to 108.

Wednesday new fire chief, and grandfather, Neal De Jesus showed off a placard his department will start passing out at fire stations, daycare centers and schools.

It’s message is simple: “Look before you lock” your car. It’s designed to hang from your car’s rear-view mirror and remind you not to leave your kids behind; even for a moment.

“I always question myself, did we do enough as public educators to help prevent that unnecessary or needless death,” De Jesus said.