Florida leads nation in hot car deaths

Published: Updated:
Cars in Collier County parking lot. CREDIT: WINK News

The summer heat and kids in cars can be a dangerous combination.

So far this year, there have been ten hot car deaths across the country. Florida leads the nation with five of those tragedies in the state, according to kidsandcars.org.

The latest happened just last week during the Fourth of July holiday. An 18-month-old lost her life after her parents left her in a hot car overnight.

Temperatures in vehicles can climb quickly. In ten minutes it can reach 110 to 114 degrees. In an hour, it can rise up to 138 degrees. 

Hollywood Fire Rescue EMS division chief Simon Serrano said as you might expect, things can get very bad, very fast.

“Within minutes this could become a life-threatening issue, so we can’t look at it as “oh, the baby is in there for just in there for a few minutes.’ That could be very bad. Once the core temperature raises to about 104°, now you’re looking at heat stroke and now you have to take drastic steps to try to cool the baby down,” he said.

Serrano had some advice to help remind parents to slow down and remember who they have with them.

“Maybe just a little bit of mindfulness, take a deep breath, you know, slow yourself down, recognize who you have with you,” he said.

He said parents should never leave a child in a car, even for just a few minutes. If they drop their child at daycare, have them call right away if the child isn’t there on time.

Leave a phone or a purse in the backseat with the child. Make sure the child can’t get into the car on their own and keep it locked.

Another important tip, announce who is getting each child out of the car when you stop so as not to cause any confusion. If you ever see a child in a car alone, call for help immediately.  

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