Connecting for Kids organization focusing on parking lot safety with new campaign

Connecting for Kids organization focusing on parking lot safety with new campaign

WESTLAKE, OH (WOIO) - Kids are quick and a lot of times don't like to stay in one spot. It's a combination that can be dangerous, even deadly- especially in parking lots.

Connecting for Kids, a parent education nonprofit, wants families to develop a routine when it comes to getting out of the car. They want boys and girls to "Be a Parking Lot Safety S.T.A.R."

That stands for: Stop, touch, attention and ready.

"Many children are hurt in parking lots. We even had a local boy who was struck by a car last summer in a parking lot," said Sarah Rintamaki, executive director of Connecting for Kids. "Fortunately, he wasn't permanently hurt. But it really raised our need that we had to do something to be able to increase safety in parking lots for children."

Rintamaki developed the "Be a Parking Lot Safety S.T.A.R." curriculum complete with a parent guide, story book for kids and a safety magnet that can be placed on a vehicle in a safe zone.

The idea is for children to STOP after exiting a vehicle, TOUCH the safety magnet, pay ATTENTION to the cars around them/listen to a grown up and be READY to go when an adult says it's time.

"This is one of those things where taking 10 minutes now can save a lot of heartache in the future," Rintamaki said.

Connecting for Kids said according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on average 96 children are killed each year in back over accidents with another 2,000 being hurt.

"Even though there might be back up cameras or other technology- children are quick and they're small," Rintamaki said. "So there really isn't anything better than having a parent that's vigilant. The magnet is something that's visual- that you can teach your children to put their hand on every time and you have a higher likelihood that they're going to stay with you even if they get distracted.

The free "Be a Parking Lot Safety S.T.A.R" kits will be handed out during Connecting for Kids meet and greet event on April 12. The event is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Don Umerley Civic Center in Rocky River. The parent guide and story book can also be downloaded through the nonprofit's website.

Rintamaki said there will be dozens of physicians and other professionals on hand talking about a variety of child development topics and fun community programs. Registration is encouraged.

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