Jhansi Katechia photo
Following the death of a Ridgefield boy left unattended in a hot car, the state Department of Transportation awarded a $100,000 grant to the Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center for the “Look Before You Lock” campaign.

The campaign, which launched Monday, will be a joint effort between the Department of Transportation, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, and Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital. It is designed to prevent children from being left in hot cars.

U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman attended Monday’s announcement at CCMC.

“As a father of a 5-year old and a 2-year old, it’s hard for me to understand how any parent, anywhere, could leave their child in a car for any duration of time,” Murphy said.

Murphy said that the campaign has been created because of a combination of carelessness, negligence, and lack of information. He believes that the campaign is about making sure that uninformed parents get the right information about these dangers.

“We are very pleased to be able to make funding available to this important campaign,” Deputy Department of Transportation Commissioner Anna M. Barry said Monday. “It’s very important to know the risks and consequences associated with leaving kids in cars, especially in the summertime.”

Barry said that no parent ever thinks that he or she will forget their child in the car, but even a great parent can forget their sleeping child in the back seat.

“Children, particularly young infants, have a decreased ability to sweat,” Dr. Marc Auerbach, an associate director of pediatric trauma at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, said. “They have a greater surface area compared to their total weight, so they absorb the heat a lot faster.”

He said that from a medical perspective, cracking windows in the car does not change the rapid rise in temperature and it is not an acceptable solution.

The campaign will run until the end of the summer. Their media outreach will include materials such as bumper stickers, posters, radio, and digital billboards. The digital billboards will display the current temperature outside and the temperature inside a car, which will fluctuate as the outside temperature does.