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Look Before You Lock

Safety tips for not locking your children accidently in the car.

Nashville, Ark. - It seems like every day we hear about a child being left in a hot car. According to, a child dies every nine days from heat stroke after being left in the car. How can this be possible?

            You are probably saying, “I would never do that.” “This only happens with terrible parents.” However, most the hot car deaths that occur each year are of children who were forgotten in the car, or who got in without their parent’s or caregiver’s knowledge and got trapped. All it takes is for you to be out of your routine. You get busy and distracted and as bad as it sounds, you forget.

            There are other situations that can happen. A young child might sneak out to play in a car, accidentally locking themselves inside, or often parents will step out of the car briefly because they do not want to wake a sleeping infant. Both situations can be potentially devastating when young children are involved. It takes less than 20 minutes for a car to heat up to more than 120 degrees. On a hot summer day, like the ones we have had lately, it takes even less time.

            Children sweat and overheat, just like an adult in a hot place. As their body temperature rises, their systems can’t regulate their temperature anymore, and they will feel dizzy, sluggish, disoriented and may have seizures. They will stop sweating and eventually lose consciousness. When they reach 107 degrees Fahrenheit, their bodies start to shut down, and they will have permanent damage or die very quickly. This happens within just a few minutes, especially for babies.

            The younger the child, the faster heatstroke can occur, anywhere from three to five times faster than an adult. Small bodies are not as good as regulating their body temperature. This puts them at risk of heat stroke in a very brief time in a hot car.

Safety Tips for Not Leaving Your Child in a Hot Car

            Despite the high number of car-related heat deaths each year, it can be prevented. How? Look before you lock! If you care for young children, make it a habit of always checking the backseat. Never leave a child in the car unattended. You may think you’re only going for a second, and the leaving the windows cracked or open will be enough. It’s not. It’s like putting the child in an oven.

            Other tips for preventing leaving a child in the car include:

  • Leave an item you would miss (such as a purse or phone) in the backseat to ensure you will check.
  • Have your childcare provider call you if your child does not show up when they are expected to.
  • Install a mirror that allows you to see a child in a rear-facing car seat.
  • If you are out of your routine put in extra precautions such as setting an alarm on your phone to alert you when the child should be dropped off at daycare.

            No one wants to cause injury to a child, especially heat stroke from being left in a hot car. Take extra care to ensure the safety of your precious cargo!

            For more information on summertime safety, contact the Howard County Extension Service at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse.

Recipe of the Week

            Any day is a great day for banana pudding. Here is a recipe you can enjoy that has less sugar and fat. This recipe is proof that you can “lighten up” without sacrificing taste        


  • 8 ginger snap cookies (crushed)

  • 7 medium ripe bananas (sliced thin)

  • 1 cup nonfat milk

  • 1 (1 oz.) box instant sugar-free, fat-free vanilla pudding

  • 1 ¼ cups low-fat vanilla yogurt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup fat-free frozen whipped topping (thawed)

  • 10 (8 oz.) parfait cups or bowls

  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon for garnish, optional

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk and pudding mix; blend well (about 2 minutes).

  2. Add yogurt and vanilla extract; blend until smooth.

  3. Stir in thawed whipped topping.

  4.  Line the bottom of the parfait cups with a teaspoon of crumbled ginger snaps.

  5. Layer 6 banana slices on top of the cookies; then 2 tablespoons of the yogurt mixture on top.

  6. Repeat with another layer of the ginger snaps, bananas, and yogurt mixture. Top with cinnamon or crushed cookie for garnish

  7.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Yield: 10 servings

Nutrition Information per Serving: Calories-170, Fat-2g, Carbohydrates-36g, Total Sugar – 19g, Fiber-2g, Protein-4 g, Sodium-219 mg. High in calcium and potassium

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.