DATE: May 31, 2013
From left to right: Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, CSC; Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler; and Janice Carter, ELC.
MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberly Maroe, Public Information Manager
Broward County Board of County Commissioners
New billboards soon to be located throughout Broward County send a message to “Look Before You Lock,” an alert to anyone who transports children and runs the risk of leaving them locked inside a vehicle for any length of time.
“Florida ranks fourth in the nation in the number of hyperthermia deaths caused by children left in vehicles. That’s a tragic statistic and not one we want to be known for,” said Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler, who unveiled the first “Lock Before You Lock” billboard located on the 2500 block of Griffin Road, Hollywood. An estimated 40-thousand people drive by that location every day.
“We want to reach out to people and remind them they have children in the car and to look before they lock the door. To do that we have billboards, car stickers, and other educational materials which will be distributed to schools, parents, doctor’s offices, social service agencies, and to anyone who can help spread the word,” said Commissioner Wexler.
The “Look Before You Lock” educational campaign is a collaboration of Broward County, Children’s Services Council and the Early Learning Coalition of Broward County.
“We hope this educational effort will save lives. Broward County passed an ordinance aimed at child care centers, now we’re turning our attention to the public by promoting child safety. This is a problem that can be prevented,” said Children’s Services Council Director Cindy Arenberg-Seltzer.
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, 2013.
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).
“We are committed to the safety of children. We’re working to ensure that no child is left alone and locked inside a vehicle,” said Janice Carter from the Early Learning Coalition of Broward County.
In Broward, a 4-year-old child died last year when he was left in a vehicle owned by a family child care home provider. The most recent case in South Florida involved an 11-month-old toddler who died after being left in a hot vehicle by his mother. Heatstroke in vehicles is the leading cause of all non-crash-related fatalities involving children 14 years-old and younger. Especially vulnerable are children four years old and younger.
For more information on the Vehicle Alarm Ordinance and the “Look Before You Lock” campaign, call 2-1-1 or visit cscbroward.org.