SWEETWATER, Fla. – A child dies from being left in a hot car every ten seconds in the United States.
With the summer months already upon us, the Department of Children and Families is taking the time to remind all parents to be cautious and vigilant to make sure their children don’t become a statistic.
“For kids in hot cars, it can take only 15 minutes before a child may sustain a heat stroke,” explains Shevaun Harris of the Department of Children and Families.
Law enforcement officers and firefighters from several different agencies presented a united front, Wednesday, as they continue to remind the public to remember the phrase, “Look before you lock.”
“Too many children die in hot cars every year in Florida, and leaving a child in a hot car for any amount of time can have deadly consequences,” says Lt. Alejandro Camacho of Florida Highway Patrol (FHP).
To reinforce their message, Miami Fire Rescue and the Florida Highway Patrol held a mock rescue at FHP Headquarters to demonstrate just how hot a vehicle can get in the summertime heat.
Unfortunately, they say the majority of these cases involve a parent or caretaker who simply forgets that their child is back there.
Even if a parent leaves the window cracked, officials say the temperature can still rise very rapidly.
“Even with windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can reach 125 degrees in ten minutes,” warns Harris. “Cracking the windows does not help slow the heating process or decrease the maximum temperature.”
Troopers also placed an electronic thermometer inside of a parked car and left it unattended in the parking lot. In the span of just a few minutes, the internal temperature rose from about 94 degrees to nearly 115 degrees.
“It is everyone’s mission to keep our children safe,” explains Lt. Camacho. “Anyone who leaves a child a unattended in a vehicle and in doing so causes great bodily harm to a child commits a felony of the third degree.”
Officials say the easiest way to keep this from happening to you is to put something you’ll need, like a wallet or purse, in the backseat, to make sure you remember to “Look before you lock it.”