Fire officials: look before you lock your car

 MEDFORD, Ore. — According to the National Safety Council, 52 children died in hot cars last year. With summer just beginning, fire crews are sending a message to parents and caregivers.

For most, getting in the car and driving is part of our daily routine. But for parents, there’s one crucial add-on that can have life-saving impacts.

“People are like, how can you leave in a kid in a car,” said Medford Fire-Rescue Captain Seth McEwen. “Well, as we can all understand, there are a ton of distractions right now.”

Being left is hot cars is what claimed the lives of 11 children so far this year.

“You have a certain routine everyday,” Captain McEwen said, “and if you get out of that routine, and your tired and exhausted, sometimes this stuff can slip your mind.”

According to kidsandcars.org, over half of those 52 kids were forgotten in the car.

“It’s not being a bad parent, it’s not any of those things,” Captain McEwen said. “It just means that even the best caretakers, the best folks, can fall victim to this if they are over exhausted.”

Captain McEwen said the best way to make sure you’re always taking the right steps is creating a routine or placing items you use everyday in the back seat.

“Cell phone, purse, badge to work, any of these number of things that you can’t move on with your day without, place that around the child or around car seat,” Captain McEwen said.

Fire officials say it might be less convenient throwing your purse in the back seat, but the simple routine could save lives.

“We talk about over-exhaustion, talk about getting out of your ritual,” Captain McEwen said. These are all things to keep again, muscle memory in-track, doing the same thing over and over again.”

Kidsandcars.org show 26 percent of kids lost to hot cars last year was because they gained access to a vehicle.

Medford Fire-Rescue recommends keeping your keys out of reach and out of sight from kids.

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