LAUDERHILL — On Friday, May 31, beginning at 9 a.m., Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler will join the Children’s Services Council, the Early Learning Coalition and other child care and safety stakeholders in unveiling a billboard promoting the Look before You Lock campaign, on the 2500 block of Griffin Road in Hollywood.
The billboard campaign aims to educate the general public to the dangers of leaving children unattended in hot vehicles and ways to avoid accidentally forgetting them there.
To help prevent these tragedies, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners recently passed an ordinance requiring all child care centers and family child care homes to install safety alarms in vehicles carrying six or more passengers, effective July 1.
“You can’t shut the alarm off unless you do it manually,” said Wexler, who pushed for the county law. “If the drivers have to walk to the back of the vehicle to shut the alarm off, ideally they will look from seat to seat to ensure that all children are out of the vehicle.”
Heatstroke in vehicles is the leading cause of all non-crash-related fatalities involving children 14 years old and younger.
Especially vulnerable are children 4 and under because their bodies overheat more quickly. The most recent case in South Florida involved an 11-month-old toddler left in a hot vehicle by his mother. In Broward, a 4-year-old died last year when he was left in a vehicle owned by a family child care home provider.
To help child care providers defray some of the costs of installing the alarms, the Broward County Children’s Services Administration, the Children’s Services Council, and the Early Learning Coalition have set aside a One-Time Only Reimbursement fund to help qualified childcare providers offset the cost of the installation(s). The purchase and installation of the alarm must occur between Dec. 11, 2012 and June 30, 2013.
“Nothing is completely foolproof, but these tragic deaths and injuries are totally preventable,” said Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, president/CEO of the Children’s Services Council of Broward County. “If adding a layer of protection by enacting the county ordinance or creating the Look before You Lock campaign to engage the entire community saves even one child’s life, it will be well worth the effort.”
For more information on the reimbursement, child care providers should call 2-1-1. For more information on the Vehicle Alarm Ordinance and on the Look before You Lock campaign call 2-1-1 or visit cscbroward.org