Warning: Heatstroke Danger for Kids in Cars

Jul 14, 2015

Every year across the country children die of heatstroke after being left in locked vehicles. The Iowa Department of Transportation wants to make sure that doesn’t happen here.  

This week, the electronic billboard on Iowa interstates includes the slogan, “Where’s Baby?  Look Before you Lock.”      

The campaign comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“This week's message is an important one, especially given the high heat this week,” says Andrea Henry, director of strategic communications at the Iowa DOT.   “We want to make sure that people are paying attention when they leave their vehicles.”

Henry says the billboard message was planned even before this week’s high temperatures.   

The federal government reports on average nearly 40 children die of heatstroke each year, and more than half were left in vehicles unintentionally.

“Any time one child dies in a situation like this it’s tragic,” Henry says.  “So if we can prevent even one death or one child getting sick because they were left for a small amount of time, I think it’s worth it.”     

Henry says there’s no additional cost to include the message along with the state’s traffic fatality count, which is updated every Monday.

The DOT has attracted attention for catchy sayings on the electronic billboards.   The Department got some pushback for a recent billboard warning against distracted driving that read, “Get Your Head Out of Your Apps.”  

Henry says the department has received no negative feedback for the “Where’s Baby” campaign.