WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - The Florida Highway Patrol and other local agencies have teamed up to alert the public about the dangers of leaving children and pets in hot cars.
“Parents or anyone who’s operating a vehicle, make sure that they do not leave a child or a pet in a vehicle,” said FHP Trooper Joe Sanchez.
So far, this year in the state of Florida, two children have died after being left in hot vehicles. One of those deaths happened in Miami-Dade County.
“Nationwide, in 2017, unfortunately, we have had 12 children die in hot cars,” said Gilda Ferradaz from the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Experts used a demonstration, Thursday morning, to show just how quickly the inside of a car can heat up.
While it was just 86 degrees outside, the temperature inside the car reached over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes.
“A body can receive heat stroke at about 104 degrees,” said Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll, “and when your body is at that temperature, that’s when you start to become disoriented, nausea, you start to go unconscious.”
Back in February, a 1-year-old boy died after being left in a car by a family member outside their Pinecrest home.
While experts say prevention is key, there are state laws in place that allow witnesses to take action when they spot a person or pet inside a hot vehicle.
“First thing we want you to do, of course, is call 911,” said Sanchez. “Then you are protected under the law to break that window.”
Whether it’s a quick run into a store or a forgetful memory, officials said there’s no excuse for leaving a loved one behind in a hot vehicle this summer.
“Put reminders like your purse, your phone, your wallet at the back seat of the car,” said Silvia Beebe from the Florida Department of Children and Families, “so when it’s time to leave and exit the car, you’re able to then try to find that particular item.”
In the state of Florida, if a child dies in a hot vehicle, the person responsible could face felony neglect charges.
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