Maricopa County, AZ launches campaign to prevent hot car deaths

@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.

KidsAndCars.org to mark National Heat Stroke Prevention Day on July 31

18 children have already died in hot cars this year

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – July 29, 2014 - Children continue to die in hot vehicles – and parents and families across the country endure the worst nightmare imaginable. Yet, most parents still think it could never happen to them.

For the first time, a Connecticut mother of three whose 15-month old toddler, Benjamin, lost his life on July 7, 2014 will speak out and join the effort to educate the public about these dangers. She is launching a website (www.thegiftofben.com) to honor Benjamin’s life and help raise awareness of this grave public policy concern. “After the tragic death of my son, I began researching as much as I could to try to wrap my brain around how and why this happens to people like my husband – we are responsible, conscientious, loving parents. We could be you, your neighbors, your best friends,” said Lindsey Rogers-Seitz. “Ben was cherished so, and losing him in this manner has brought a profound grief. We realize that we cannot allow others to feel this pain needlessly, so we are urging automobile and car seat manufacturers, legislators, regulators, health and safety experts, victims and other interested parties to come together to quickly find the most effective solution before more lives are lost,” she said.

KidsAndCars.org launched a “We the People” petition drive on the White House petition website (http://bit.ly/petitionkac). The petition will encourage the Obama Administration to authorize the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to provide funding for research and development of innovative technology to detect a child left alone in the rear seat of a vehicle. On National Heat Stroke Prevention Day the KidsAndCars.org team will urge the public to sign their petition to the White House (calling for innovation and technology to prevent children from being left behind in vehicles).

In the past 20 years more than 670 U.S. children have died in hot cars. Already in 2014 at least 18 children have died in hot cars, reports KidsAndCars.org, the leading national nonprofit group dedicated solely to preventing injuries and deaths of children in and around motor vehicles  The number of child heat stroke deaths in vehicles continues to average 38 per year, or about one every 9 days.

KidsandCars.org works with David Diamond, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at the University of South Florida who studies the brain and memory, including people who have unknowingly forgotten children. He finds that, “These memory errors are committed by normal, attentive and loving parents. Many of these parents had believed that they could never forget their children, until their children died,” he said. “Scientific studies confirm that you can’t assume your memory will never fail, and the consequences of a memory failure can be tragic.” Unfortunately, people still do not understand that this can happen to absolutely anyone. Heat stroke is the leading cause of noncrash vehicle fatalities for children 14 and younger. These tragedies are not only predictable, but also very preventable.

KidsAndCars.org, along with other child-safety advocacy groups and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), will mark National Heat Stroke Prevention Day on Thursday, July 31. The entire day will be focused on increased efforts to raise awareness and educate parents and caregivers about ways to prevent children from being unknowingly left alone in a hot vehicle. Participating agencies will also post social media messages throughout the day, asking people to share the posts on Facebook and retweet using #heatstroke.

A parked car can reach 125 degrees in minutes, even when the windows are partially open. Children are especially vulnerable to heat stroke, as their body temperatures rise three to five times faster than an adult’s.

All parents need to carefully follow the guidelines for placing car seats in the back seat – the safest place for children to ride. Additionally, babies should ride rear-facing in their child safety seat till age 2, according to the guidelines prescribed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

At the same time, parents must understand that while requiring children to ride in the back seat has saved thousands of lives, it also requires drivers to take extra precautions to avoid children from being unknowingly left alone in a vehicle. “Following the KidsAndCars.org Look Before You Lock safety education tips doesn’t cost a penny, and provides several layers of protection so your child will not be unknowingly left in a vehicle,” Fennell added. “We never know when there might be a day that our memory fails us, so we urge parents to implement these easy-to-follow instructions so that they become a habit for them and all who care for their child.”

KidsAndCars.org‘s Look Before You Lock safety education tips include:

  • Get in the habit of always opening the back door of your vehicle every time you reach your destination to check to make sure no child – or pet – has been left behind.
  • Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat. Right before the child is placed in the seat, move the stuffed animal to the front passenger seat as a visual reminder that your child is in the back seat.
  • Put something you’ll need on the floorboard in the back seat in front of your child’s car seat (cellphone, handbag, employee ID, briefcase, left shoe, etc.). This ensures you open the back door of your vehicle to retrieve your belongings.
  • Make arrangements with your daycare provider or babysitter to call you within 10 minutes if your child does not arrive as expected.
  • Never leave children alone in or around cars, not even for a minute. Instead, use drive-thru services when available.
  • Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in the garage or driveway, and keep car keys and remote openers out of reach of children.
  • When a child is missing, call 911 and check the inside of vehicles and car trunks immediately.
About KidsAndCars.org: Founded in 1996, KidsAndCars.org is the only national nonprofit child safety organization that is solely dedicated to preventing injuries and deaths of children in and around vehicles. KidAndCars.org promotes awareness among parents, caregivers and the general public about the dangers to children, including backover and frontover incidents, and heat stroke from being inadvertently left in a vehicle. The organization works to prevent tragedies through data collection, education and public awareness, policy change, product redesign and survivor advocacy.

Sign this petition: Prevent Child Heat Stroke Deaths in Vehicles

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

Created: Jul 14, 2014

Kids in cars: Only 19 states have law against it

Kids in cars: Only 19 states have law against it
@Copyright HLNTV.com, By Colette Bennett
Fri July 11, 2014

 

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.

Read more: Tennessee just legalized breaking into cars — see why

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.

HELPFUL REMINDERS SO KIDS DON’T GET LEFT IN HOT CARS


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

A Mother Remembers: I Left My Baby In a Hot Car

Ridgefield Patch, Posted by Aaron Boyd (Editor) , 
Barbara (left) and Emma Baughman (right) with one of 'Emma's Inspirations.' The decal reads: “Closed Cars Don’t Breathe, Check Your Seats Before You Leave!” Contributed Photo
Barbara (left) and Emma Baughman (right) with one of ‘Emma’s Inspirations.’ The decal reads: “Closed Cars Don’t Breathe, Check Your Seats Before You Leave!” Contributed Photo
Forgetting a baby alone in the back of a car to bake in the summer heat — an unthinkable tragedy — is often blamed on negligence and bad parenting.

Barbara Baughman understands how people could think that, but she also understands how something like this can occur. The mother of six once left her own infant daughter in a car on a hot day.

“It is a terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible tragedy,” Baughman said Tuesday, a day after a 15-month-old Ridgefield, CT boy was found dead in the back seat of a car.

Monday’s tragedy in Ridgefield was one of three cases of children left in hot cars reported in a 24-hour period in Connecticut alone. The baby’s death was one of 19 similar cases reported so far in 2014, including the troubling story of a Georgia man accused of intentionally leaving his 22-month-old son in the car for the better part of a day.

All of these incidents, including the one in their hometown Monday, reminded the Baughman family of a lesson they learned over a decade ago: the dangers of leaving a child in a hot car are real and could happen to anyone.

“We take so many things for granted that we sometimes forget the obvious dangers,” Baughman said. “People have to realize just a few minutes is all it takes.”

Twelve years ago, the Baughman family was moving from one home to another. Over the course of two weeks, they followed the same routine: shuttling between homes, with the parents moving the boxes and furniture while the older kids looked after the younger.

On one warm afternoon, with all the stresses of moving a family and an additional child in tow — one of the kid’s friends — everyone was distracted. No one had an eye on Emma, the Baugham’s 6-month-old daughter.

“Every single time for 2 weeks [one of the older kids] took Emma, but not that time,” Baughman said. “Everyone thought someone else had her.”

After almost 45 minutes, the family realized baby Emma was missing.

19 Child Deaths So Far: A Typical Year

“The biggest mistake a parent could make is to think this couldn’t happen to them,” said Sue Auriemma, vice-president ofKidsAndCars.org, a research organization dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers vehicles pose to children. “It happens to the most loving and caring parents.”

With school out and summer temperatures on the rise, more and more reports have surfaced of kids being left in cars, with tragic endings.

Despite the flurry of reports, 2014 is about on pace to match the annual average for child deaths in hot vehicles, according to Auriemma.

On average, 38 children are killed every year due to heat stroke after being forgotten in cars.

There were 44 and 34 heat stroke related child deaths in cars nationwide in 2013 and 2012, respectively, according toKidsAndCars.org. A 20-year high of 49 deaths were recorded in 2010.

Child deaths from heat stroke began trending up dramatically in 1998 along with awareness of the dangers airbags pose to children in the front seat.

From 1990 to 1997, a total of 90 reported cases of children dying of heat stroke in cars were reported, an average of just over 11 per year. From 1998 to 2005, that number more than tripled to 304, an average of 38 per year.

As more parents began putting their children in the back of the car, more children were being forgotten.

“The rear seat is absolutely the safest place for a child,” Auriemma stressed. “But measures need to be taken.”

Experts suggest taking simple steps to remind yourself that your child is in the back seat, like leaving your purse or briefcase in the back seat so that you have to check back there before leaving your car. Another is to leave a stuffed animal buckled into the carseat that will ride up front as a reminder when your child is in the back.

The most important thing is to make checking part of your routine.

Stress and Automatic Memory

Driving around town with her own young grandson Monday, Baughman recalled her own experience of leaving Emma in a hot car for 45 minutes, more than enough time for a child to die from heat stroke.

Baugham and her family were lucky. Emma was found safe in the family van but only by a stroke of luck. One of Baughman’s five other children had been car sick and left a window down, allowing enough air in the car for Emma to survive. She’s now a vibrant teenager — and avid Scrabble player.

If the window had been up, the story would likely have a tragic ending.

“Watching my grandson yesterday, it was all I could think about,” she said, remembering the sharp anxiety and feeling of relief when they discovered Emma safe.

After their close call 12 years ago, the Baughman family decided to take action and began making window decals that remind parents, “Closed Cars Don’t Breathe, Check Your Seats Before You Leave!” (Mother Barbara came up with the slogan and sisters Madison and Katie did the artwork and came up with the idea.)

“Put it on the front windshield or front passenger window or on the door to the garage,” wherever it will get noticed, Baughman said. “It’s just a simple reminder — and that’s all we need, just a reminder to look back.”

The human brain processes memory in two ways: consciously and automatically, with the latter taking over whenever stress mounts.

“When you’re driving somewhere you know — like driving to work — how many times have you gotten to a place and wondered how you got there?” Auriemma offered, explaining our automatic memory at work. “Any stress whatsoever and our brains default to that automatic memory,” putting people on autopilot.

“We’ve had parents drive back to the daycare center to pick their child up [with the child still in the car], sure they had dropped them off earlier,” she said. All it takes is “a little change in routine and usually some stress involved.”

“Those cars don’t breathe,” Baughman said, referencing the decal’s catchy tagline. “People don’t realize how quickly they can heat up. They think they’ll only be in the store for 5 minutes but it always ends up taking longer.”

The infant who passed away Monday evening in Ridgefield was in the vehicle for “an extended period of time,” according to police, however, “People have to realize just a few minutes is all it takes,” Baughman said.

For more tips, check out KidsAndCars.org and stop byEmmasInspirations.com for a decal.

Child deaths in hot cars: 10 key facts

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.

CPA Launches Child Safety Awareness Campaign with Calgary’s First Responders

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.”