Preventing tragedy: Senators want stepped-up ‘Look Before You Lock’ efforts in CT
Connecticut’s two U.S. senators are asking federal officials to try to step up efforts to promote the “Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock” public education campaign in the state in the wake of recent incidents here.
U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy have sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) acting administrator, requesting he “consider focusing more of your campaign in Connecticut to align with the spike in frequency of these heart-breaking incidents in our state.”
Produce a PSA?
They also asked the NHTSA “think of creative ways of disseminating the ‘Look Before You Lock’ message in Connecticut, such as producing a public service announcement, or by visiting Connecticut to bring awareness to your agency’s effort.”
“We are glad that your agency has taken steps to reduce the number of these heat-related injuries to children by launching the national ‘Where's Baby? Look Before You Lock’ campaign,” Blumenthal and Murphy wrote to NHTSA Acting Administrator David J. Friedman.
Many recent incidents in the state
Their letter comes in response to the numerous reports of children left unattended in cars in Connecticut, including an incident where a 15-month-old from Ridgefield died as a result of being left in an overheated unattended vehicle.
In the past month, at least six caretakers in Connecticut have been charged with leaving children unattended in a vehicle, which is a misdemeanor under Connecticut law, according to a press release from the two U.S. senators.
Text of the letter
The full text of the letter is below:
July 11, 2014
The Honorable David J. Friedman
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building
Washington, D.C. 20590
Dear Administrator Friedman,
We write with extreme concern over a series of recent incidents in Connecticut where children have been left, sometimes unintentionally, in unattended vehicles. In just the last month, at least six caretakers in Connecticut have been charged with leaving children unattended in a vehicle, which is a misdemeanor under Connecticut law.
Some of these incidents involve careless parents, while others are purely accidental occurrences by otherwise responsible caretakers. The most recent incident unfortunately resulted in the tragic death of a 15-month-old child in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
We are glad that your agency has taken steps to reduce the number of these heat-related injuries to children by launching the national "Where's Baby? Look Before You Lock" campaign. These reminders could save a child’s life this summer.
As your own research pointed out, there is not currently a reliable technological solution to solve this problem, and developing technology has not yet proven effective at addressing this issue. While we are not advocating that you cease looking for a technological solution that may exist in the coming years as devices become more advanced and reliable, the most immediate way we can protect children in Connecticut is to educate and remind parents of the dangers of heatstroke with your “Look Before You Lock” campaign.
We understand that with a limited budget you must carefully plan where to focus your campaign, but we ask that as you are targeting your resources that you consider focusing more of your campaign in Connecticut to align with the spike in frequency of these heart-breaking incidents in our state.
We also ask that you think of creative ways of disseminating the “Look Before You Lock” message in Connecticut, such as producing a public service announcement, or by visiting Connecticut to bring awareness to your agency s effort.
Additionally, we are eager to work with you to bolster your efforts to keep children safe. Since research shows that a child’s body temperature can rise five times faster than an adult’s, and heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees, Congress should assure that “Look Before You Lock” has enough funding to run throughout the year, and we will work with our Senate colleagues to make sure you have the resources you need for issues like this.
Please report back to us on your decision to increase your efforts in Connecticut.
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal