Downtown Los Angeles header image
Los Angeles Police Department Badge

Official Site of The LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT

News Release

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Media Relations

Dangers of Leaving Children/Pets Unattended In Vehicles NR12160rh

WHAT:
News Conference to bring awareness to leaving unattended children as well as pets in hot vehicles.  “Kaitlyn’s Law”  

WHEN:
Thursday, July 12, 2012

Demonstration/Actual Temperature within Vehicle
8:30 a.m.

Start of news conference
9 a.m.

Demonstration/Actual Temperature within Vehicle
9:30 a.m.
    
WHERE:
Valley Traffic Division
7870 Nollan Place
Panorama City, CA  91402

WHO:
Councilman Richard Alarcon, City of Los Angeles, 7th District
Field Deputy Connie Llanos, 6th District, Councilmember Tony Cardenas  
Captain Ivan Minsal, Commanding Officer, Valley Traffic Division (Host)
Captain Fabian Lizarraga, Commanding Officer, Juvenile Division
Battalion Chief Scott Campos, Los Angeles Fire Department
Captain Kevin Gordon, Commanding Officer-West Valley, California Highway Patrol
Captain David Cohen, Los Angeles Fire Department - Station 81
Dr. Charles Sophy, Medical Director, Department of Child and Family Services
Deputy District Attorney Deborah Knaan, LA County District Attorney’s Office
Sergeant Arturo Gomez, Valley Traffic Division (Coordinator-Spanish Speaker)
Annette Ramirez, Los Angeles Animal Control – Animal Cruelty Task Force
Felicia Singer, Manager, PET Co.

WHY:
Nationwide since 1998 to the present, 623 deaths to children were as a result of parents/caregivers leaving them unattended in automobiles.  Eighty-seven percent were three years of age or younger.  That’s an average of one child dying every 8.2 days.  Nationwide during 2012, 10 children ranging from the ages of 4 months to 5 years old lost their lives due to hyperthermia in temperatures ranging from 83 to 105 degree temperatures.   

As outside temperatures rise, the dangers for children being seriously injured or even dying from being left alone inside a hot car also rise.  That’s why the Los Angeles Police Department announced today that it is joining with other, state and local highway safety, law enforcement, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in an effort to reduce these deaths by reminding parents and caregivers about the dangers of heatstroke in young children.

“More than half of all vehicle-related heatstroke deaths in children are caused by a child accidentally being left in the car, and more that 30 percent are from a child getting into a hot car on their own,” said Captain Ivan Minsal.  “In an effort to prevent these needless tragedies, we want to urge all parents and caregivers to do three things:
        
  1. NEVER leave a child in a vehicle unattended;
  2. Make it a habit to look in the backseat EVERY time you exit the car;
  3. ALWAYS lock the car and put the keys out of reach.  And, if you ever see a child left alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 right away.
According to NHTSA, heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle fatalities for children 14 and under. In fact, one child dies from heatstroke nearly every 8 days from being left in a hot vehicle.

Warning signs of heatstroke include: red, hot, and moist or dry skin, no sweating, a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse, nausea, confusion or acting strangely.  If a child exhibits any of these signs after being in a hot vehicle, cool the child rapidly (not an ice bath but by spraying them with cool water or with a garden hose).  Call 911 immediately.

“Children’s body temperatures can rise up to five times faster than that of an adult, and heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees,” Sergeant Arturo Gomez.  “On an 80 degree day, a car can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes.”  With windows cracked, vehicle temperatures can reach 125 degrees in minutes.  Cracking window has little to no effect on slowing rising temperatures in vehicles.

Valley Traffic Division along with special guests will be informing the public on the dangers of leaving your children unattended inside vehicles as well as inform parents/caregivers of safety tips to help them avoid being a statistic.  

Tragically we also lose animals (family pets) to the high temperatures that are left in unattended vehicles.  A representative from the LA County District Attorney’s Office, Animal Cruelty Unit will speak on this tragedy.  

CONTACT:
For more information, please contact Sergeant Arturo Gomez 805-559-9637 or Valley Traffic Division watch commander at 818-644-8010.