ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KPLR) - There’s been an overwhelming response our report earlier this month on a St. Louis campaign to keep kids from dying in hot cars.
Four more U.S. children have died after being left in vehicles in the past two weeks bringing the total to 16 through the first half of this year (none in Missouri or Illinois), which may signal the reverse of a downward trend. The total dropped to 24 in 2015 after soaring to 44 in 2013.
Even though St. Louis’s heat wave has broken this week, the danger is still here.
The “Look before you Lock” window cling campaign is taking off.
The clings go in your driver’s side window. They feature a thermometer to measure a vehicle’s interior temperature and the words “Look before you Lock”.
Waterloo Mayor, Tom Smith, has ordered 50 for his police department and is donating 100 to Life Network, which helps women and men in the St. Louis area facing crisis pregnancies.
“We have to protect our kids. I have a granddaughter that’s 4 with one on the way. I don’t want something like that to happen to her,” Smith said.
“This (campaign) would be perfect for us to let them know to watch their kids when they’re in the car and don’t forget that they’re in there,” said Debbie Geist of Life Network. “We’ve seen it many times where they’re running into the center to just grab a few supplies and then leaving their kids out in the car. In this heat, we don’t want them to do that.”
“We’d rather spend time preventing an accident like this than responding to it. Hopefully something as simple as a sticker program will get some word out there,” said Waterloo Fire Chief, Brett Wiegand.
FOX 2 showed you an interior car temperature soaring to 130 degrees in less than seven minutes during our recent heat wave. Even with much milder 80 degree temperatures now, the temperature inside a car jumped to 110 in about the same amount of time, Wednesday.
West County EMS and Fire has just ordered 750 clings to meet demand.
“We did have an overwhelming response to the first story with the look before you lock stickers,” said Battalion Chief Kelly Grassmuck, of West County EMS & Fire. “If you had one, today would be a great example (to) see how fast it heats up in there, even though the temperature’s pretty nice out, to remind you to look before you lock…it’s going to start making it just a subconscious reaction. You might be coming home from work when you never have your kids with you, you’re just going to get that mindset where you’re just going to check the back seat and make sure they’re not there.”
West County EMS & Fire, Waterloo Police, and Life Network should have the clings for anyone who wants one by next week. They are only reminders, for demonstration only. They are not meant to show when it's OK to leave your kids in the car. It’s never OK.