(Media release from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning):
For the tenth consecutive year, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) is calling for families and caregivers of children to increase awareness of the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles. This year’s “Look Again” campaign comes just ahead of Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, and hopes to ensure that families, child care providers, and the public understand how to prevent pediatric vehicular heatstroke during this time.
Governor Brian P. Kemp has proclaimed May 22-26, 2023, as Look Again Week in Georgia, saying, “Public awareness of the dangers of vehicular heatstroke and of simple prevention strategies can save lives. The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, along with the State of Georgia, is committed to eliminating child vehicular heatstroke deaths in childcare settings, at home and elsewhere.”
DECAL Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs said hundreds of thousands of children in Georgia are cared for daily by licensed child care providers, most of whom regularly transport children. “Nationally, 33 children died from pediatric vehicular heatstroke in 2022 and two have died so far this year. Neither of these deaths were in Georgia, but in neighboring states of Alabama and Florida. When DECAL receives reports of children left in vehicles by providers, we investigate each incident.”
During FY2022, seven children were left in vehicles by child care providers statewide. In FY2023, as of mid-April, seven children have been left.
Jacobs said “Look Again” is a message not only for child care programs and teachers but for anyone caring for a child ‒ parents, grandparents, other family members, neighbors, and friends ‒ to always account for the children in their care as they drive them from place to place. “When you arrive at your destination, check the front and back of your car, and after you’ve looked, just to be sure, Look Again. There is absolutely no reason for a child to suffer or die in these conditions,” she stressed.
Jacobs said technology is helping in the effort: “Sensors in car seats and vehicles and phone apps signal reminders when you reach your destination,” she said. “These technological resources help build habits to check the backseat after driving. And if these aren’t options, you can always place a stuffed animal in your passenger seat as a reminder that your child is in the back.”
Officials also remind the public to act responsibly and quickly if they see a child left alone in a vehicle by calling 911 immediately; emergency personnel are trained to respond.