HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Federal and state officials are launching a campaign to raise awareness about the problem of leaving children alone in hot cars after the death of a toddler last month.
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau that the state’s Department of Transportation has committed $100,000 to an all-out ad campaign to get the “Look Before You Lock” message out on billboards, TV and radio.
The goal is to get parents to remember to check the back seat of their cars before locking it up and leaving. Wyman suggests that parents place their cellphones in the back of the car. That way, she says, they’ll be certain to remember.
Another suggestion is to take off one of the child’s shoes and put it on the front seat as a reminder.
Wyman noted that body temperatures in children rise more quickly than they do in adults, and she cautions parents that young children in cars remain in jeopardy even in cooler temperatures.
“Even at 57 degrees, a car can heat up 20 degrees in about 10 minutes,” Wyman said.
The campaign follows the death of 15-month-old Benjamin Seitz last month in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Police say his father was supposed to drop him off at day care but went to work, leaving him in the parked vehicle.
“It will give us some type of peace. I think back to the peace that his smile, his laughter and his chatter gave to me,” Lindsay Rogers-Seitz previously told Schneidau while campaigning for a program that would remind drivers when children are in the back seat. “This is a way that I could maybe, at some point in the future, still feel that kind of peace I felt when he was here with me.”
The state’s two U.S. senators had previously asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to bolster awareness efforts in Connecticut as part of the “Look Before You Lock” national campaign.
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