How can parents, caregivers and the public prevent hot car deaths?

Ohio will soon join the ranks of states taking action to prevent hot car deaths. Earlier this summer, Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 215 into law. Effective August 31, good Samaritans who break into a vehicle to save a minor or animal from overheating are protected from civil liability and damages.

It’s a common misconception that hot car deaths are always the result of negligence, and many fail to take proper precautions because they don’t believe they would ever put their child at risk. According to neuroscientist David Diamond, changes in routine, lack of sleep and stress can cause a parent or caregiver to forget a child is in the vehicle with them.

“A universal observation I have made is that each parent’s brain appears to have created the false memory that he or she had brought the child to daycare,” he explains. “Parents went about their routine activities, which even included telling others that they needed to leave work on time to retrieve their child from daycare. Having this ‘false memory’ caused them to be oblivious to the fact that their child had remained in the car all day.”

Diamond claims none of the parents he studied demonstrated an act of willful recklessness or gross negligence.

3 Tips for Preventing Hot Car Deaths

Forgetting your child in the car may seem unfathomable, but it’s easier to do than most parents would like to admit.

Follow these three tips for preventing a hot car death on your watch:

  1. Place an item you’ll need to retrieve before moving on with your day in the back seat. Whether it’s your cell phone or your shoe, you will be forced to check for your child before exiting the vehicle.
  2. Request your child’s school or childcare provider contact you as soon as possible if your child is absent without notice.
  3. Keep an old stuffed animal in the car seat, and move it to the passenger seat each time you buckle your child in to serve as a visual reminder.

How to Break into a Vehicle to Rescue a Child or Pet

Disclaimer: The following instructions are only to be used in emergency situations where the life of a child or pet is in immediate danger.

  1. Quickly check for unlocked doors. If you’re unable to gain access to the vehicle, call 911 or recruit a bystander to do so. Under Ohio’s new law, you must take these steps to receive immunity.
  2. Locate a tool you can use to break the car window, such as a tire iron, hammer or screwdriver.
    prevent hot car deaths
    resqme® Quick Car Escape Tool

    Want to be prepared to take action? Invest in a resqme® Quick Car Escape Tool. The keychain’s powerful steel spike quickly and efficiently cracks a vehicle’s side window. Purchase one online for just $12.95, and $4 from the purchase of certain models is donated to KidsAndCars.

  3. Select the side window furthest from the child to reduce the risk of injuries resulting from shattered glass.
  4. Drive the tool into one of the window’s lower corners until the glass breaks. Do not focus your efforts on the center of the window, as this is the strongest section.
  5. Use the tool to carefully clear any remaining glass shards from the edges of the window, and remove the child from the vehicle.

We hope you will never be in a situation where it is necessary to use this information, but you never know when you may be forced to take action to save a life.

Everything Earned Athletic Award Program Recognizes Local Teams

Elk & Elk launched the Everything Earned Athletic Award Program last fall.  The program recognized high school teams throughout Northeast Ohio who excel in their sport and in the classroom, and display a passion for making a difference in the community. Teams were nominated by their school’s athletic director, and each month a winner was selected to receive $1,000 for their program courtesy of the firm.

2015-2016 Everything Earned Athletic Award Winners

Lutheran East Boys Basketball

As the first recipients of our Everything Earned Athletic Award, the Falcons set the bar for the program. The team’s impressive season, dedication to their studies and participation in Lutheran East’s annual Service Day exemplified the values we sought in our winners. The team contributed the $1,000 from the award to ongoing gymnasium renovations.

Max S. Hayes High Swimming

The Lakers took home this year’s Senate Athletic League title after an outstanding performance at the championship meet. The school’s valedictorian and several students enrolled in advanced placement courses compete on the team. Learn more about how these students go above an beyond in the pool, the classroom and the community.

James F. Rhodes Boys Cross Country

The Rams overcame the odds to earn their award. Despite the fact that only two members of the team had ever run a mile prior to joining the school’s cross country team, their hard work paid off with a Senate League Championship. While the team’s achievements were remarkable, a good deed they performed during the season caught our attention.

Willoughby South Girls Volleyball

When the Rebels discovered their coach’s 3-year-old great niece was battling cancer, the team organized a “Princess Night” fundraiser and brought their community together to raise $5,000 in honor of Bella’s Special Wish. In addition to the $1,000 award for the volleyball program, Elk & Elk made a $1,000 donation to A Special Wish Foundation in the team’s name.

Westlake Girls Soccer

The Westlake girls soccer team has competed in 11 of the past 13 district finals. The Lady Demons have been recognized 11 times as a 1st Team Scholastic All-American Team, and every player carries a GPA above 4.0. The team put the money from their award toward the purchase of soccer shelters for the upcoming season.

Euclid Football

The Euclid Panthers have showed no signs of slowing since the conclusion of their 10-3 season and appearance in the OHSAA Division I playoffs. Twenty-five of the team’s seniors will continue their football careers at the collegiate level, and every player in the Class of 2016 is pursuing a college degree or entering the military.

Elk & Elk intends to expand the Everything Earned Athletic Award Program in coming years. Like Elk & Elk’s Facebook page or follow @elkandelk on Twitter for updates about the campaign.

3 Tips for Staying Safe While Playing Pokémon GO

Pokémon GO
We spotted an Eevee at the Elk & Elk Headquarters!

After the release of Pokémon GO earlier this month, millions of fans set out in search of virtual creatures in their communities. The augmented reality game encourages players to exercise, and may even be helpful for those coping with depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. However, the technology poses a variety of potential safety risks. Follow our tips for avoiding injuries while playing Pokémon GO.

3 Pokémon GO Safety Tips

1. Don’t catch and drive.

The recent report of a massive pileup caused by a Pokémon GO player may be a hoax, but the dangers of playing the game while driving are very real. Ohio State Highway Patrol and other government agencies took to social media to warn users of the dangers, and traffic accidents and injuries have already been reported.

2. Watch your step.

Playing Pokémon GO behind the wheel isn’t the only way people are putting themselves at risk. Despite a warning on the app’s loading screen to stay alert, players have documented various injuries resulting from distractions posed by the game. From tripping over a curb to accidently walking out in front of a moving vehicle, there are numerous ways one could conceivably be injured while playing.

3. Be aware of your surroundings.

Don’t use the game to justify venturing to a location you would usually consider unsafe. Try to limit playing time to daylight hours, and stay in populated, well-lit areas when playing at night. Bring a friend if you’ll be travelling to a secluded spot, and always avoid trespassing.

The Pokémon GO craze is just getting underway, so have fun and stay safe on your adventures! Trying to catch ‘em all in the Cleveland area? Head to Newburgh Heights, Walton Hills or Gates Mills.