PSAs: Hot Cars Kill Kids, So 'Stop, Look, Lock'


Parents, would you leave your young children in a hot car, possibly leading to heatstroke and death? That would never happen, right?

Well, “Never Happens,” counter the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Ad Council in a new PSA campaign.

TV spots developed by the Chemistry agency in English and Spanish-language versions provide examples of other things that parents promise “never” to do, but end up doing anyway.

In one :60, a mother notes, “We said we’d never make a separate dinner. We’d never let them sleep in our room. And never become a minivan mom,” while the visuals show those things happening. Then, as the woman is shown parking her car, she receives a business call, leaves the car to talk -- and forgets about her child in the back car seat. “As parents, we say never a lot,” she continues, “but never happens.  So when you say you’d never leave your child in a hot car, know it can happen.”



In a second spot, a fathersimilarly notes that“We said we’d never babysit with a screen. We’d never let the toys take over. And never let them out of our sight.” In this case, while he gets sidetracked by a task in his open garage, his child goes into the nearby car and shuts the door.

In both spots, the children are thankfully saved when each adult rushes into action.

Such is not always the case in real life, with NHTSA, the Ad Council and Chemistry pointing out that heatstroke from hot cars is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for kids 14 and younger, with more than 950 of them dying of the condition since 1998.

The spots, respectively, also point out via visuals that “Hot Car Deaths Can Happen in Temperatures as Low as 60 degrees” and “1 in 4 Hot Car Deaths Happen When Kids Get Into Cars And Can’t Get Out.”

The spots end with a call to action that resolves both kinds of hot car mishaps: forgetting a child in the car, or a child entering an unlocked the car: “Before you leave the car, always stop, look, lock.”

That last line is very similar to one used in a 2020 campaign from NHTSA’s parent, the U.S. Department of Transportation. Those ads used the phrase, “Park. Look. Lock” in national radio ads and digital ads that targeted the 18 States with the highest incidences of child heatstroke fatalities, mostly in the South where it’s hottest.

The new campaign, which also includes radio, outdoor, print and digital banners that were first launched last year, offers all materials nationally, although the partners do say they’ll “focus on the ‘Sunbelt’ states where the majority of pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths occur.”

NHTSA also ran a 2022 campaign titled “Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock.”


Next story loading loading..