TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — The extreme heat in Florida this summer is sparking new warnings about how quickly children can die if left in a hot vehicle.
So far this year nationwide 18 kids have died after being left in a hot car and six of those occurred in the Sunshine State. Monday state officials proposed simple steps for prevention.
“We are here today because of this tragedy, because six of Florida’s beautiful children lost their lives from being in a hot car,” Ounce of Prevention President Jennifer Ohlsen said.
Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris said parents need reminders. Even a shoe in the backseat with a child, she thinks, can be a lifesaver.
“Leave something that you know you can’t live without,” Harris said. “You might forget a backpack, right? You might even forget your purse. No one’s leaving their car without a shoe on their foot.”
But Kids and Car Safety, a nonprofit organization, says education and awareness only go so far.
Prevention, they say, starts with parents’ perception of hot car deaths.
“We believe technology is going to be the solution to this because in order to rely on a shoe or any other safety tip or habit to protect a child, you’re relying on that parent admitting that this could happen to them,” Kids and Car Safety Director Amber Rollins said.
There is technology already on the market. Some modern vehicles already come with backseat alarms installed.
Florida law already requires backseat alarms to be installed in daycare vehicles. But beyond that, the state says a shoe is a step in the right direction.