Press Release: Florida Department of Children & Families
Tallahassee, Fla.—Summer is here and it’s hot. Shade and sunscreen are not enough to protect a child against the dangers of extreme heat. In just 10 minutes, the temperature of a parked vehicle can rise 20 degrees. The crack of a window is no match to combat the rising heat. This heat can be deadly, especially for children because their body temperatures rise five times faster than adults.
In an effort to protect children and educate parents, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) has produced the next public service announcement (PSA) in its summer safety series focused on the dangers of leaving children in hot cars. The PSA is available as a three-minute short film: http://youtu.be/dwQv8tEfnJQ and abbreviated 60-second spot: http://youtu.be/7XfJ4J5qpP8
“The awareness of a child’s presence cannot be stressed enough, especially with the summer heat. Parents juggle many responsibilities and lead fast-paced lives, but the consequence of leaving a child in a parked vehicle can be a fatal,” DCF Secretary Wilkins said. “Through this PSA, we hope to bring more awareness to this danger and encourage parents to always be vigilant about their children’s safety.”
Although it may be hard to believe, children can easily be left behind in the car when parents are distracted, rushing, multi-tasking or have a change in routine. This is especially true during the summer months when kids are out of school and may have a different caretaker or driver.
Here are some tips to keep your kids safe this summer:
· Be sure to check the back seat before you leave the vehicle.
· Put your purse, briefcase, lunch, etc. in the backseat so you are sure to look before you lock the door.
· Do not let your children play near vehicles; they may accidentally lock themselves in.
· If there is a change in plans and someone else is dropping the kids off at summer camp, have them call you at drop off so you know everyone made it safely.
In the state of Florida it is a criminal offense to leave a child unattended in a vehicle: http://www.flsenate.gov/laws/statutes/2011/316.6135. However, sadly for some parents, the loss is much greater than that of any arrest or prosecution.
Anyone who sees a young child, vulnerable adult or animal left unattended in a vehicle during these extreme summer temperatures should contact emergency personnel immediately.
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The summer prevention video series is being promoted through social media and WTXL, WTLV, WJXX, WCJB and Hernando County Government Broadcasting have committed to airing the DCF drowning prevention PSA at no cost.
For more information about hyperthermia and other summer safety tips, visit www.myflfamilies.com/summer-safety.