*Media materials and interview opportunities below.
Boise, ID – More than 50 children died in the U.S. in 2019 from heatstroke after being left in a car, and Idaho is not exempt from this danger. With the temperatures warming up, Treasure Valley agencies and businesses are teaming up to remind you it’s dangerous to leave kids, pets and vulnerable loved ones 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.”
For the second year, the “Look Before You Lock” campaign will be visible around the community. It’s designed to remind people to double check their vehicles before leaving to prevent accidental deaths inside hot cars, trucks and RVs. From April 1 to October 1, 2019, Ada County Dispatch received 289 calls for service concerning a child, pet or non-mobile adult parked in a vehicle during warm or warming times of the day.
As demonstrated in this video, the inside of a vehicle heats up fast, even if the windows are cracked. When it’s 75 degrees outside, the inside of the car can quickly reach 94 degrees in 10 minutes and 109 degrees in 30 minutes.
“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.”
Most cases of someone being left in a vehicle are accidental. Of the related child deaths in the U.S., more than half of the children were simply forgotten by a caregiver, and more than a quarter happened when the child somehow got access to the car on their own. Since 1998, 850 children in the U.S. have died this way, according to data collected by San Jose State University. Fifty-two died last year.
As part of the “Look Before You Lock” campaign, local businesses in Ada and Canyon County will share special flyers and large posters. LAMAR Advertising will put up billboards today sharing the Look Before You Lock message. You can download a flyer to post at your business here. New this year, you can print a tag to hang on your vehicle review mirror. There is even an option to color in your own.
“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.
Our 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.
Video/Picture links: Hot car temperature demonstration video
St. Luke’s Children’s Medical Director and Emergency Physician Dr. Kenny Bramwell is available from 10-11am. Contact Anita Kissee, St. Luke’s Health System email@example.com
Look Before You Lock
Temperatures In Locked Cars
|Outside Temperature||Inside Vehicle After 10 Minutes||Inside Vehicle After 30 Minutes|
- 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.