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August is Purple Ribbon Month
Never Leave a Child Unattended In A Car

At least 100 Palm Beach County Fire Rescue fire engines, rescue trucks, and staff vehicles will display this sign reminding caregivers to "Never Leave a Child Unattended in a Car". Our fire rescue vehicles are highly visible throughout the County's unincorporated 1,800 square miles where thousands of drivers will be reading this reminder on a daily basis.

Florida State Representative Joe Gibbons and State Senator Mandy Dawson sponsored the bill that Governor Charlie Christ signed into law last month. As of July 1st, citizens can be charged criminally for leaving a child unsupervised in a vehicle while the engine is on. It is now a second-degree misdemeanor if a child younger than 6 years old is left in a running motor vehicle for more than 15 minutes. The punishment is up to 60 days in jail and $500 fine. It is also a third-degree felony with up to five years in jail and $5,000 fine if the child suffers great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement. If the child is left in the vehicle unsupervised for less than 15 minutes than it will be cited as a traffic violation.

In August of 2000, Kaitlyn Marie Russell of Corona, California (shown on the sign above) was only 6 months old when she lost her life to hyperthermia or heat stroke after she was left in her babysitter's van for hours. The month of August has been designated across the country as "Purple Ribbon Month" in memory of Kaitlyn to educate and increase awareness of the dangers of leaving children in and around motor vehicles unsupervised. Hyperthermia, entrapment and strangulation from power windows, trunk entrapment, back over and roll over incidents, vehicle crashes because the vehicle is put into gear, and carjacking, are all very real and unfortunately very common causes for childhood injuries and deaths. all ARE PREVENTABLE!

BACKGROUND

The 4 R Kids Sake™ organization was founded in 2000 by Kaitlyn's Mother, Tammy Russell, and, Grandmother, Laura Peterson. They have designated the month of August as "Purple Ribbon Month" across the country to educate and increase awareness of the dangers of leaving children unattended in or around motor vehicles.

STATISTICS

*As of July 16th, 2007, there have been 356 incidents involving 439 children where 117 have died as a result of being left in or around a vehicle unattended.

*In 2006, there where 598 incidents involving 742 children where 219 died.

**In 2005, 149 children died and hundreds more injured and put at risk in and around vehicles without supervision. 42 of the fatalities were from hyperthermia or heat stroke. 28 of these deaths occurred in the summer months- June, July, and August.

For more information, please visit www.4rkidssake.org.

*Statistics provided by Kids And Cars™

**Statistics provided by 4 R Kids Sake™