New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Preventing Child Vehicular Heatstroke

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Preventing Child Vehicular Heatstroke

Thirty-seven children die each year in the U.S. from heatstroke after being left in a car.  In New Jersey, 12 children have died from vehicular heatstroke since 1998.

Seeking to prevent future tragedies, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families sought to educate parents and caregivers to never leave a child alone in a car.

I devised and executed a campaign to reach parents and caregivers where they are likely to leave a child in a car: retail store parking lots.

Using my professional contacts, I recruited the New Jersey Food Council, New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, Wawa, AAA Clubs of New Jersey, New Jersey Bankers Association, and Agency Network Exchange to post on their entrance doors stickers reminding people to never leave a child alone in a car.  We distributed nearly 2,800 stickers throughout the state.

Working with the New Jersey Highway Authority, I had nearly 200 signs placed at tollbooth bulkheads on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway.  A digital version of the sign was displayed on the PNC Bank Arts Center’s electronic billboard on the northbound Garden State Parkway.

We announced the campaign by news release and video news release, which showed stickers on retail entrance doors, signs at tollbooths, and the electronic billboard sign.  The video included interviews with a pediatrician, police officer, and the state’s meteorologist describing the dangers of leaving a child alone in a car.

The video news release was distributed via email to more than 9,000 people and posted on the department’s website and Facebook and YouTube pages.  (PDF)