@Copyright by Katie Bieri, The Republic | azcentral.com
August 8, 2014
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced its launch of a county wide public-awareness campaign about the dangers of leaving children in hot cars.
“These tragic incidents occur with an unfortunate regularity every summer, and we believe many are preventable,” County Attorney Bill Montgomery said, introducing the “Don’t Leave Me Behind” campaign on Friday.
So far this year, 21 children have died nationwide as a result of being forgotten in vehicles, Montgomery said.
No Valley children have died this year as a result of being left in hot cars, Montgomery said, but 35-year-old Shanesha Taylor, of Phoenix, made national headlines in March after she left her 2-year-old and 6-month-old sons alone in a car while she attended a job interview. Taylor reached a deal with prosecutors last month that would allow her to forego felony charges if she completes parenting classes and sets up trust funds for her children.
“Enough is enough,” Montgomery said. “We’re going to be much more overt in trying to carry this message.”
The first part of the Maricopa County campaign includes a large, mobile billboard that features a child and dog in a hot car with the words, “Don’t Leave Me Behind.” The billboard will travel throughout the Valley on busy streets, highways and shopping centers, for about 40 hours a week through August.
“We want to provide an impactful and visual reminder to people to make sure they don’t forget a child or pet when they park their vehicle,” Montgomery said.
The second part of the campaign includes a public-safety announcement that will broadcast on local television stations in August and September. Lastly, Maricopa County will give away windshield shades at community-outreach events for drivers to place in their cars as a reminder of the consequences of leaving children in vehicles.
Montgomery also recommended an app called “Baby Reminder,” which helps to monitor parents’ driving times and set alerts to remind them they have a baby in the car. The app is available for free in the iTunes App Store, along with other similar apps and products that have surfaced recently.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that more than 600 children have died in vehicles due to heatstroke between 1998 and 2013. Currently, heat-related illness represents the number one cause of death for children in cars under the age of 14, aside from crash-related fatalities.
While the “Don’t Leave me Behind” outreach effort was proposed fairly late this summer, Montgomery promised that the county will reinstate the campaign much earlier next year.
WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Prevent Child Heat Stroke Deaths in Vehicles
Sign here: http://wh.gov/lL8nX
In the last 20 years more than 670 children have died in hot vehicles.
As of July 15 this year 17 children had already died, reports KidsAndCars.org.
These unthinkable tragedies can be prevented.
We the People call on the Obama Administration to authorize the Department of Transportation to prevent children from dying in hot vehicles by doing the following:
• Provide funding for research and development of innovative technology.
• Identify, evaluate and test new technology to accelerate implementation of the most feasible and effective solutions.
• Require installation of technology in all vehicles and/or child safety seats to prevent children from being left alone left alone in vehicles.
For more information: http://www.kidsandcars.org/heatstroke.html
With all the news about children being left in hot cars as of late, you might think that it’s illegal to leave a minor in such a dangerous spot in the first place.
However, only 19 states have a law against it, according to nonprofit KidsandCars.org. Thirteen states, including New York, New Jersey, and Georgia, have a proposed law on the table about leaving a child in a car. Missouri and Kentucky have laws, but they apply to fatalities only. Rhode Island has a statue authorizing law enforcement to provide a verbal warning only if a child if left in a hot car. Fifteen states have no current or proposed laws at all.
Connecticut law states that a child under the age of 12 cannot be left in a car at any time, regardless of weather conditions. The penalty can range from a few months in prison to a year, in addition to a fine, and is classified as a misdemeanor. If the windows are left closed, especially on a hot day, the crime is a considered a felony.
Tennessee is the first state to legislate that “forcible entry” can be used if the person that discovers a child locked in a car has already called 911 and sees no other way to free the child.
Janette Fennell, president and founder of Kids and Cars, tells HLN that all states have child endangerment laws, so people who leave kids in cars will be charged no matter what, but that Tennessee is the first state to put this “Good Samaritan” law into words.
Fennell also helped spearhead a law passed in California in 2002 that ensures that 70% of the money from fines collected when people leave children in cars go back to the respective county so they can use it to fund a proactive plan for preventing the problem in the future.
Some states are less protective of kids in cars, and Fennell named Florida as one of the big ones, as their law states you can’t leave a child for more than 15 minutes.
“A child can die in less than 15 minutes in a car,” Fennell said. “When people justify that it’s OK, they’re trying to justify the convenience. You wouldn’t leave a million dollars in a car. Our children are worth more than that.”
Kids and Cars is working on a White House petition campaign — which launches next week — to require child car seats to issue an alert when a child is being left in a car. Fennell feels that technology can play a major role in helping to cut down the troubling death statistics.
“The worst thing you can do is assume it can’t happen to you,” Fennell said.
WABC, By Dr. Sapna Parikh
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
NEW YORK (WABC) — It’s been happening more frequently, children left behind in hot cars, and the consequences are deadly and heartbreaking.
Tuesday in Ridgefield, Connecticut, a 15-month old died after being left in a hot car when his father went to work.
That death yesterday brings the total to 16 deaths this year and the summer is just getting started.
Most of these deaths are completely unintentional, good parents who are just busy and distracted.
Never leave your child in a closed car, not for a minute, not even to run in and get groceries.
A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult and a car quickly becomes an oven.
The outside temperature Wednesday afternoon was 89.9 degrees. In our unofficial experiment we watched it go up to 105.8 degrees in just 15 minutes.
“For parents to think this couldn’t happen to them is an enormous mistake,” said Sue Auriemma, the Vice President of KidsAndCars.org.
A rear facing car seat looks the same whether your baby is in it or not making it easier to forget.
Some new high tech car seats have an app that warns you.
One man invented the child in car alert device. It beeps when you turn the car off. If you still forget your child, it then starts honking.
Andrew Schuller won a contest for his invention
“As you’re getting in, you attach it to car handle,” said Andrew Schuller the creator of the EZ Baby Saver.
The EZ Baby Saver band blocks you from getting out as a reminder.
The shoe trick also went viral. It sounds strange, but after the child is in the seat, put your left shoe in the back seat, so even if you forget, you’ll remember when you step out.
As the vice president of KidsAndCars.org Sue Auriemma demonstrated two more low tech prevention tips.
“Leave your purse in the back, and a stuffed animal in the front,” Auriemma said.
The bottom line is to create some reminder for yourself every time.
People often think that leaving the windows open a little bit helps, but that’s a myth. It does not significantly slow the heating process or impact the overall temperature.
Here are some tips from safety advocates on avoiding accidental deaths in hot cars:
Never leave children alone in a vehicle to run even a short errand. Use drive-thru windows at banks, dry cleaners and restaurants whenever possible. Use a debit or credit card to pay for gas at the pump.
Put a purse, cellphone or other item you will need in the back seat of your car. This will ensure that you check the back seat before leaving the vehicle.
Make a habit of opening the back door of your car and checking the back seat whenever you exit it.
Keep a stuffed animal or toy in your child’s unoccupied car seat. Put that item in the front seat when you place the child in the seat as a reminder that the child is in the back of the car.
If a child is missing, immediately check the car, including the trunk.
If you see a young child who is unresponsive or in great distress alone in a hot vehicle, get the child out and call 911.
Sources: Connecticut State Police, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, kidsandcars.org
Lori Grisham, USA TODAY Network
The recent death of Cooper Harris, a 22-month-old child left in a hot car in Georgia, has drawn attention to the risks of leaving children unattended in vehicles. USA TODAY Network compiled 10 facts about child deaths in cars caused by heat stroke.
1. An average of 38 children have died in hot cars each year in the USA since 1998.
2. Since 1998, 619 children have died in vehicles from heatstroke in the USA.
3. More than 70% of heatstroke deaths occur to children under the age of 2.
4. More than half of heatstroke deaths occur because a caregiver forgot the child in the car.
5. Roughly 30% of heatstroke deaths occur because the child got in the car without a caregiver knowing and couldn’t get out.
6. Nearly 20% of deaths occur because a caregiver intentionally left the child in the car.
7. Cars heat up quickly. A vehicle can heat up 20 degrees in 10 minutes.
8. Cracking the windows or not parking in direct sunlight does not make a car significantly cooler. Heatstroke deaths have occurred even when the vehicle was parked in shade.
9. A car can reach 110 degrees when temperatures are only in the 60s. Heatstroke can take place when the outside temperature is as low as 57 degrees.
10. The body temperatures of children can increase three to five times faster than adults. Heatstroke begins when the body passes 104 degrees. Reaching an internal temperature of 107 degrees can be deadly.
All statistics are from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and San Francisco State University’s Department of Geosciences.
CALGARY, ALBERTA–(Marketwired – June 26, 2014)
With the arrival of summer and warmer weather, the Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) is partnering with the Calgary Fire Department (CFD), Calgary Police Service (CPS) and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to remind motorists of the importance of never leaving children alone in a parked vehicle, particularly during the summer months.
“Our goal is to create awareness about this issue and ensure that Calgarians understand the seriousness of leaving a child unattended in a parked vehicle, especially during hot weather,” said Troy McLeod, CPA General Manager.
In hot weather the temperature inside parked vehicles can rise to fatal heatstroke levels within minutes, even if the car windows are left partially open or the car is parked in the shade. Leaving children unattended in parked vehicles puts them at significant risk of heatstroke because their bodies warm faster than an adult’s and this makes them especially vulnerable as temperatures rise.
“Promoting child safety awareness is an important way to help reduce or eliminate the number of people who leave children in vehicles, and every little bit helps,” said Staff Sergeant Paul Stacey, CPS. “But if you do see a child alone in a vehicle, call 9-1-1 immediately.”
The Calgary Fire Department is often the first responders to a 9-1-1 call for a child left in a car.
“We work as quickly as we can to get the child out of the car and get them emergency medical care,” said Carol Henke, CFD Public Information Officer. “Parents or caregivers may forget the inside of a car can heat up quickly and is much warmer than outside. It only takes a few minutes to put a child in danger of hyperthermia, so never leave a child in your car and remember to call 9-1-1 if you see a child unattended in vehicle.”
Building off the International Parking Institute’s Parking Safety Matters campaign, the CPA, CFD, CPS and EMS are advising Calgarians to follow a few simple guidelines:
◦Children should never be left in a parked car, not even for a minute.
◦Call 9-1-1 if you see a child left alone in a vehicle on a hot day. Every minute is important.
◦Never leave your car without checking the backseat to ensure you do not forget a child in the car. This is a very common reason for heatstroke deaths in children.
◦Always lock your car and ensure you teach your children that vehicles should not be used for playing.
◦If your child is missing, quickly search your immediate surroundings and then return to your vehicle at once and check the passenger seats and trunk immediately.
◦Arrange with your child care provider that they should call you if your child doesn’t arrive on time.
“Our goal is prevention” said Stuart Brideaux, EMS Public Education Officer. “To avoid the risk of exposing children to a serious, potentially life threatening medical emergency, simply never leave a child alone inside a vehicle.”