County Joins Campaign Against Unattended Kids In Vehicles
Morris County health officials are joining the state campaign this summer to get the word out that leaving unattended children in cars is a bad idea at any time, but can be a health danger to kids in the hot summer months.
One may think an errand will just take just a few minutes, but running an errand
while leaving a child, or a pet, alone in a car often stretches longer, putting a child at risk of heatstroke and even death.
Striving to educate parents that the risk far exceeds any convenience, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) has partnered with statewide business organizations to raise awareness about the dangers of leaving children alone in vehicles.
DCF has been distributing window stickers to retail stores, supermarkets, financial institutions, insurance agents, state-licensed child care centers, and more featuring a simple but important message: Never leave a child unattended in a car. Not even for a minute.
“A hot car can become like a hot oven in just a matter of minutes on summer days,” said Carlos Perez, Jr., health officer for the Morris County Office of Health Management. “The rule of thumb should be never to leave your children or pets in a hot car, even for what you think will be a minute or two. It’s a bad idea.’’
Morris County Freeholder Doug Cabana, who is the county governing board’s liaison on health issues, said, “We urge Morris County residents to heed this common sense message and avoid potential problems .”
DCF Commissioner Allison Blake said, “Maybe they’re grabbing a gallon of milk or using the ATM and think it won’t take much time, but it’s never
okay to leave a child alone in a car.”
The Department of Children and Families has produced an online video alerting parents and caregivers to the danger. The video is available to the public and for online sharing by visiting https://youtu.be/YUEcKziwQs
Last year, according to DCF, 31 children nationwide died
from heatstroke because they were left unattended in
vehicles. Since 1998, 12 children in NJ have died
from vehicle-related heatstroke. Vehicle interiors hit
unbearable temperatures quickly. A relatively cool day at
60 degrees outside could heat a car to 110 degrees inside.
Parents and guardians can take easy steps to avoid leaving
children unattended in cars. Adults can leave a stuffed
animal in the child’s unoccupied car seat. Once caregivers
place the child in the car seat, they can move the stuffed
animal to the front seat. The stuffed animal will act as a visual reminder to remove the child from the vehicle upon reaching the destination.
Other steps adults can take to keep young children safe include: Removing kids from the vehicle before unloading groceries or other items; Looking inside at the vehicle’s front and back seats before locking the door and walking away; Not allowing children to play in or around an unattended vehicle; Always lock your car and secure the keys so children can’t get to them; Installing a trunk release mechanism to avoid kids getting trapped inside the trunk; and calling 911 immediately if you see a child unattended in a vehicle.
For more information, please visit: https://www.state.nj.us/dcf/.
For more on Morris County health issues, visit: https://morriscountynj.gov/health/index.asp.