For the sixth consecutive year, Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) and several other state agencies are calling for families and caregivers of children to have a heightened awareness of the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles.
In his first year in office, Governor Brian P. Kemp is lending his voice to this important challenge by issuing a proclamation naming Friday, May 24, 2019, as Look Again Day in Georgia.
Amy M. Jacobs, DECAL Commissioner, said over 337,000 children in Georgia are cared for daily by approximately 5,000 child care providers, most of whom regularly transport children.
“When we receive reports of children left in vehicles by providers, we investigate each incident,” Jacobs explained. “During
FY 2018, 12 children were left in vehicles by child care providers statewide. So far in FY2019, 10 children have been left. Thankfully all of these children survived, but one child left unattended in a vehicle is one child too many and, despite our best efforts, these numbers show there is still work to be done.”
Jacobs said “Look Again” is a message not only for child care programs and teachers but for anyone caring for a child ‒ parents, grandparents, other family members, neighbors, and friends ‒ to always account for the children in their care as they drive them from place to place.
“When you arrive at your destination, check the front and back of your car, and after you’ve looked, just to be sure, Look Again.
There is absolutely no reason for a child to suffer or die in these conditions,” she stressed.
Jacobs said technology is helping in the effort: “From sensors in car seats and vehicles to phone apps like Waze that signal reminders when you reach your destination,” she said. “All of these help build habits to check the backseat after driving. And if these aren’t options, you can place a stuffed animal in your passenger seat as a reminder that your child is in the back.”
State officials hope the public will use social media to help share this “Look Again” public service announcement with family and friends. Officials also ask the public to be their eyes and ears in the community, and if they see a child left alone in a vehicle, call 911 immediately; emergency personnel are trained to respond.
Agencies supporting the campaign include DECAL; Georgia Department of Public Health; Georgia Department of Human Services; Georgia Department of Public Safety; Georgia State Patrol; Governor’s Office of Highway Safety; Georgia Department of Transportation; and the Georgia Children’s Cabinet.
Supporting partners included Safe Kids Georgia, Emory Center for Injury Control, Get Georgia Reading Campaign, Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Georgia Child Care Association (GCCA), Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS), Georgia Family Connection Partnership, and Voices for Georgia’s Children.