Major retail giant working to save lives

By WEEK Reporter

June 25, 2013 Updated Jan 2, 2014 at 5:35 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- So far this year, 15 children in the U.S. have died after being left in a hot car. Advocacy organization "Kids and Cars" says the yearly average is 38.

"We go in the store; we get something. You come out, go in the car and you're thinking oh my gosh its steaming in here," Dr. Richard Frederick, Chair of OSF St. Francis ER Department, says. "And if you left a baby in there, it could be tragic."

Dr. Richard Frederick says it takes just a short period of time for the inside of a car to exceed the outside temperature. He says people need to prioritize and think about how hot is it, something that is easily forgotten these days.

"Now we have a false sense of what the heat is because we're inside an air conditioned vehicle."

Wal-Mart hopes to rid of that absent-minded attitude. A spokesperson tells News 25 the "Look Before You Leave" signs were distributed at stores nationwide this year, to serve as a reminder following an incident at one of its stores last summer. Wal-Mart on Allen Road has them out.

As the summer heats up, the Salvation Army is a cooling place for those seeking refuge. Rich Draeger says space can be an issue, but doors at the Slyvia Fites Center are open from 8 to 5 Monday through Friday.

"As an agency, we try to be responsible to people's needs whether it's a sandwich at lunch time, a place to cool off or a box fan," Draeger says. "That's something simple we can do to help someone in need."

The Salvation Army is taking box fan donations to give to those who don't have air conditioning.

For more information on donating, call 655-7272.

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