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Purple Ribbon Month focuses on kids left in the heat

July is Purple Ribbon Month, in observance of Kaitlyn’s Law, which was passed in 2001, making it a citable offense to leave children under the age of 6 years old in a vehicle without the supervision of someone at least 12 years of age.

The law was named for Kaitlyn Marie Russell, who died on Aug. 15, 2000, after being left in a hot van by a caregiver.

Kern County has designated July as Purple Ribbon Month in memory of Kaitlyn and all the children who have lost their lives to preventable injuries in and around cars, and in order to educate and increase public awareness about the dangers of leaving children unattended in or around motor vehicles. There have been nine children who have died this year due to hyperthermia in the United States.

On July 18, the Kern County Board of Supervisors will proclaim July as Purple Ribbon Month. The purpose of the Purple Ribbon campaign is to remind the community that it only takes a few minutes for a car to heat up to temperatures that a young child’s body cannot withstand.

There were 36 deaths of children last year alone that could have been prevented. You can follow the Purple Ribbon Month Campaign on social media platforms, @KernCountyDHS, the website All individuals are encouraged to play a role in making Kern County a safer place for children and families.

The campaign, according to the Kern County Public Health Department, has helped reduce deaths and injuries across Kern County. “The campaign has helped raise awareness about this subject that is saving lives of our children,” said Tia Malano, who has been involved in campaigns since 2005. “It is so important to make residents aware that there is something we can do to prevent these injuries and deaths.”


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