Officials warn against leaving kids in hot cars

By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
July 18, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- By the end of this year, 37 kids will die after being left inside of a hot car. That's according to the safety organization Kids and Cars.

The most recent death in Florida was less than a week ago in Pembroke Pines. The first one in Florida was back in February.

While these horrific tragedies can happen at any time, law enforcement officials say they see more of them during the summer months.

The Florida Highway Patrol and the Florida Department of Children and Families held a press conference Wednesday to remind the public of the dangers of leaving a child in a hot car.

Jeanna Olson with DCF said, "The cars' temperature can rise quickly. To a child, a temperature of 107 or higher is detrimental. So, to remind them to not even run into a store and leave a child in a car unattended. It could be fatal."

Officials say a child's major organs begin shutting down at a body temperature of 104 degrees. Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can reach 125 degrees in minutes, according to authorities.

Major Chris Blackmon with FHP said, "It's sad because the little tykes left in the vehicles have no voice or choice to be left. It's usually absent-minded parents that have gone to work to do their daily work duties and somehow it's slipped their mind that their child's in the vehicle."

Authorities say one of the best ways to prevent forgetting your baby is in the car is to make it a habit to always open the back door and look in the backseat before locking your car and walking away.

Authorities say you can also keep something you need in the back seat, such as one of the shoes you're wearing or your cell phone. That way, when it's time to get out of the car, you'll have to look in the backseat and see the baby.

Another safety tip is to have a plan with the childcare provider; ask them to call if the child doesn't show up for care as expected and make sure all emergency contact information is up to date.

Troopers say if you see a child alone in a car, call 911.

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