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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
August is Purple Ribbon Month, and the California Highway Patrol is urging everyone to "look before you lock" your car to protect babies and children from the extreme heat -- or any danger.
CHP Officer Robert Rodriguez shared the safety message Monday on "First Look with Scott Cox."
He talked about Kaitlyn's Law, passed in 2001, that makes it a citable offense to leave children under age 6 unattended in a motor vehicle without the supervision of someone at least 12 years of age. It was named for Kaitlyn Marie Russell, who died in 2000 after being left in a hot van. She was 6 months old.
"They just forget," Rodriguez said of people who accidentally leave babies behind in cars. He cited a recent case in Fresno in which the mother thought the father had the baby, and the father thought the mother had the baby.
He urged anyone who sees a baby or child in a car to call 911 immediately.
Rodriguez said car owners have to know their car window will be broken; "we will take action," he said.
At least 23 children have died in cars so far this year across the country, Rodriguez said.
He urged people to put something valuable -- anything from a briefcase to a cell phone -- by their child's car seat "so you won't forget your most precious cargo."
Simulcast host Scott Cox said, "I'll use my skull, my elbow ...." to open a window in a car, adding "I am going to use something." He expressed surprise that people have to be reminded to get their babies and children out of their cars.
Kern County's Department of Human Services says the following Purple Ribbon Month events are planned:
* 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6: The Kern County Board of Supervisors is slated to proclaim August as Purple Ribbon Month during their meeting.
* 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 8: A news conference will be held at Oaks Children's Center, Oaks Community Church, 10200 Campus Park Drive. It will include a safety demonstration showing how fast car temperatures rise and the dangers of back-over accidents.