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Parents And Caregivers Urged Never To Leave Children Alone in a Vehicle - Not Even for a Minute

For Immediate Release Contact: Ernest Landante, Jr.
July 1, 2015 609-292-0422
TRENTON - You think it'll just take seconds, but running an errand while leaving your child alone in a car often stretches longer, putting your child at risk of heatstroke and death.

Striving to educate parents that the risk far exceeds any convenience, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) has partnered with statewide business organizations to raise awareness about the dangers of leaving children alone in vehicles.

DCF will distribute window stickers to retail stores, supermarkets, financial institutions, insurance agents, state-licensed child care centers, and more featuring a simple but important message: Never leave your child unattended in a car.  Not even for a minute.

"We're placing this message where people are likely to leave a child in a car," said DCF Commissioner Allison Blake.  "Maybe they're grabbing a gallon of milk or using the ATM and think it won't take much time, but it's never okay to leave a child alone in a car."

The department has also produced an online video alerting parents and caregivers to the danger.  The video is available to the public and for online sharing by visiting

The campaign's message will also appear at toll booths along the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway and on an electronic billboard at the PNC Arts Center in Holmdel.

The New Jersey Bankers Association, New Jersey Food Council, New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, Wawa, AAA Clubs of New Jersey, and Agency Network Exchange have lent their support to DCF's initiative.

Last year, 31 children nationwide died from heatstroke because they were left unattended in vehicles.  Since 1998, 12 children in New Jersey have died from vehicle-related heatstroke. Vehicle interiors hit unbearable temperatures quickly.  A relatively cool day at 60 degrees outside could heat a car to 110 degrees inside.

Parents and guardians can take easy steps to avoid leaving children unattended in cars.  Adults can leave a stuffed animal in the child's unoccupied car seat.  Once caregivers place the child in the car seat, they can move the stuffed animal to the front seat.  The stuffed animal will act as a visual reminder to remove the child from the vehicle upon reaching the destination.

Other steps adults can take to keep young children safe include:

  • Removing kids from the vehicle before unloading groceries or other items;
  • Looking inside at the vehicle's front and back seats before locking the door and walking away;
  • Not allowing children to play in or around an unattended vehicle;
  • Always lock your car and secure the keys so children can't get to them;
  • Installing a trunk release mechanism to avoid kids getting trapped inside the trunk; and
  • Calling 911 immediately if you see a child unattended in a vehicle.

DCF is dedicated to ensuring a better today and an even greater tomorrow for every individual the department serves.  In partnership with New Jersey's communities, DCF ensures the safety, well-being, and success of New Jersey's children and families.  DCF funds and directly provides services and support to over 100,000 women, children, and families each month.

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