‘Look Before You Lock’ Campaign Kicks Off
HARLINGEN – Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz is sending all parents and other child caretakers a stern warning – look before you lock.
The DA kicked off the fifth annual campaign Tuesday, which is aimed at raising awareness about not leaving children in hot cars, as temperatures in the Rio Grande Valley have already topped the 100-degree mark.
This year, the DA's office also partnered with the Harlingen Humane Society to send the same message to pet owners.
Dr. Lee at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen said children run the risk of severe brain injury or death in just one to five minutes if left in a hot car.
They can suffer seizures, extreme dehydration and organ failure that could lead to a cruel death.
Saenz said there is no greater punishment than for a parent to lose a child.
However, the DA's office, he added, will be tasked with holding parents and caretakers responsible if a child dies in a hot car.
Kim Warunek, executive director of the humane society, said pet owners should avoid taking their pets with them to run errands this summer – a better option would be to leave them home where they are safe.
Saenz wants citizens to be on the lookout and take action if they see a child or pet locked inside a hot car. People shouldn't take it for granted that someone else will make the call to authorities, he said.
Harlingen Police officer Sal Carmona said if people spot this emergency situation, they should call 911 first, stay with the child or pet, and if necessary, break a window.
The ‘Good Samaritan Law’ helps protect citizens who take justified action.