KidsAndCars.org Launches “Look Before You Lock” Campaign to Prevent Child Deaths in Parked Cars
It can be hard to believe, but parents of babies and toddlers — especially new parents — can forget that their children are in the car. This can have disastrous results, when the parents park the car and leave the kids behind. To prevent these tragedies from happening, KidsAndCars.org has begun a program to distribute safety cards through hospitals across the U.S. to educate new parents that their memory lapses can result in children suffering heat stroke and even death in hot cars.
The “Look Before You Lock” cards, available in either English or Spanish, give parents tips on practical steps they can take to jog their memory to make sure they take their children out of the car. The cards, provided with the help of a grant from Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., are part of an information packet that is being given to new parents when they leave the hospital with their babies.
To request the “Look Before You Lock” cards, hospitals need to notify KidsAndCars.org of the number of babies born at their facilities. The cards are also available for anyone to download at: http://www.KidsAndCars.org/pr/parent-card.pdf.
“Lack of sleep while caring for a newborn and changes in family routines can have lethal consequences. It’s just as important that parents learn to be cautious about leaving children unattended in vehicles as they are about leaving them alone near a swimming pool or in a bathtub,” said Janette Fennell, founder and president of KidsAndCars.org, a Kansas-based national nonprofit child safety organization created in 1996 to prevent injuries and deaths of children in and around motor vehicles.
The KidsAndCars.org History page says:
KidsAndCars.org was formed to protect children in and around motor vehicles while on private property, (nontraffic incidents) an unrecognized danger to children. KidsAndCars.org was the first and only organization to not only recognize the dangers, but also to begin collecting data and bring national attention to these incidents. Many adults feel it’s okay to leave children alone in vehicles; and in many cases they truly do not understand the risk they are exposing their children to. Parents are shocked to learn that every week over 2200 children are injured or killed in nontraffic events. KidsAndCars.org works to prevent these sudden tragic events through data collection, education and public awareness, policy change, regulations and survivor advocacy.
In addition to other suggestions for parents, KidsAndCars.org’s “Look Before You Lock” cards offer the following tips, using the words “BE SAFE” as a memory jogging device:
- Back seat — Put something in the back seat of your vehicle that requires you to open the back door every time you park — cell phone, employee badge, handbag, etc.
- Every child should be correctly restrained in the back seat.
- Stuffed animal — Keep a stuffed animal in your child’s car seat. Place it on the front passenger seat as a reminder when your baby is in the back seat.
- Ask your babysitter or child care provider to call you if your child hasn’t arrived on time.
- Focus on driving — Avoid cell phone calls and texting while driving.
- Every time you park make it a routine to open the back door of your car to check that no one has been left behind.
Administrator David Strickland of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) commended KidsAndCars.org’s efforts:
With NHTSA’s focus on child passenger safety, we applaud any program that helps alert parents and caregivers to the risks of leaving children alone in vehicles. On hot summer days in particular, we encourage parents to make it a habit to look in their vehicles — both front and back — before locking the door and walking away.
Following is raw footage shot by skate-boarding boys of another skate-boarding boy saving the life of a baby who was locked in a car along with the keys:
Image by KidsAndCars.org, used under Fair Use: Reporting.