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PennDOT Urges Parents to Look Before You Lock


Pittsburgh, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) urges motorists to always check the back seat of your vehicle before locking it and walking away.

Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash related fatalities for children 14 and younger according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Within 10 minutes, the temperature in a car can rise by 20 degrees, creating dangerous conditions for a child. According to, there were 14 pediatric vehicular stroke deaths in 2023.

NHTSA offers the following tips to ensure the safety of your child this summer:

  • Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended for any length of time. Rolling down the windows or parking in the shade does little to change the interior temperature of the vehicle.
  • Make it a habit to check your entire vehicle before locking the doors and walking away.
  • Place a personal item such as a purse or briefcase in the backseat as a reminder to look before you lock it.
  • Write a note or place a stuffed animal in the passenger seat as another reminder that your child is in the back seat.

    If you happen to see a child left unattended, be sure to take immediate action. If the child is not responsive or in distress, call 911 immediately and get the child out of the car. If a child is responsive, stay with them until help arrives while someone else searches for the driver.

    Pennsylvania Law provides civil immunity for damage done to a vehicle when forceful entry is necessary to rescue a child. 

Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles by visiting 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website

For more safety tips and other highway safety information, please visit, and for regional Twitter updates, follow 511PAPittsburgh.

 Contact: Yasmeen Manyisha,

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