BOISE, Idaho — With temperatures starting to warm up, several Treasure Valley agencies and businesses are teaming up to remind people it is dangerous to leave kids, pets and vulnerable adults inside cars.
“This year is a little different with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19),” said Ed Fritz with the Boise Police Crime Prevention Unit. “We are out of our normal routines and we are looking for ways to limit our exposure. Cars may seem like a safe place to leave children, pets and vulnerable individuals while you go into a store but please don’t. Even in mild temperatures, vehicles can quickly become dangerously hot.”
The 'Look Before You Lock' campaign is in its second year and will be visible around the community. The campaign is designed to remind people to double-check their vehicles to prevent accidental deaths. Ada County Dispatch got 289 calls from April 1 to October 1, 2019, about pets, children or non-mobile adults in vehicles during warmer parts of the day.
The Boise Police Department provided a video (shown below) demonstrating how the inside a vehicle heats up fast, even when the windows are cracked. In 75 degree weather, the inside of a vehicle can reach 94 degrees in 10 minutes and 109 degrees in half an hour.
“We have to remember that a child’s core temperature can increase three-to-five-times faster than an adult,” said St. Luke’s Children’s Medical Director and Emergency Physician Dr. Kenny Bramwell. “That rapid increase in temperature is so dangerous because just in a very short time it can cause permanent brain or neurological injury, and even death.”
In most cases, leaving someone in a vehicle was accidental. More than half the children who died in related cases were forgotten and over a quarter happened when the child managed to access the car on their own. Since 1998, 850 children in the United States have died this way, according to San Jose State University. 52 of those deaths happened in 2019.
As part of the campaign, local businesses in Ada and Canyon County will share flyers and large posters. Billboards will be put up with the Look Before You Lock message. If you want to put up a flyer in your business, click here to download. You can also print a tag to hang on your rearview mirror.
“The goal with billboards, posters, stickers and tags is to help remind people to keep a look out for kids or pets who may be left in cars, and to help parents and caregivers make a habit of checking for children and pets before leaving a vehicle.” said St. Luke’s Children’s Medical Director and Emergency Physician Dr. Kenny Bramwell
“Thank you to all our partners and everyone else who joins in to support this message and potentially save a life,” said Boise Police Deputy Chief Ron Winegar.
Partners include Pioneer Credit Union, Meridian Police Department, Ada County Sheriff’s Office, Caldwell Police Department, Nampa Police Department, Albertsons, St. Luke’s Children’s, Idaho Transportation District, AAA of Idaho and the Idaho Humane Society.
- NEVER leave a child, vulnerable individual or pet in an unattended car, even with the windows down.
- Check to make sure everyone is out of the car after you reach your destination.
- Don't overlook sleeping infants.
- Teach children not to play in or around cars.
- Keep car keys out of reach and sight.
- Always lock car doors and trunks, especially when vehicles are parked in the driveway or near the home.
- Keep rear fold-down seats closed to help prevent kids from getting into the trunk from inside the car.
- Be wary of child-resistant locks. Teach older children how to disable the driver's door locks if they unintentionally become trapped in a motor vehicle.
- Contact your automobile dealership about getting your vehicle retrofitted with a trunk release mechanism.