TAMPA, FL – Officially, it may not be summer yet, but as Florida residents know, summer-like temperatures start early.
When it gets warmer, it’s important to remember that your car is heating up soon. According to the National Meteorological Service, the temperature inside the vehicle will reach 100 degrees in 25 minutes, when the temperature outside is only 73 degrees.
Hot cars and kids
The National Road Safety Administration said a child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s. According to NHTSA, a child can die within minutes if left in a hot car.
According to KidsandCars.orgmore than 1,000 children under the age of 14 died of heat stroke after being left in hot cars between 1990 and 2021.
Florida ranks second in the number of deaths from hot cars involving children: between 1992 and 2021, 107 people died.
According to KidsandCars, 87% of children who died in the hot car were between the ages of 3 and younger, and 54% of deaths from heat stroke in vehicles were related to children aged 1 and under.
KidsandCars said that in 56% of the deaths of children from hot cars, the child was left unconscious by the parents. In 26% of deaths the child gained access to the vehicle on their own, and in 15% the child was deliberately abandoned.
Until in 2022 NoHeatStroke.org said two children died of heat stroke.
Hot cars and pets
Hot cars are dangerous not only for children. According to Zebra78 pets received heat stroke and died in a hot car between 2018 and 2019.
The National Weather Service said the animals could die from heat stroke in just 15 minutes.
In Clearwater, police said a man was arrested on Sunday and accused of animal cruelty after he left his dog in a hot car when it was 93 degrees outside. Police said the rear windows were half-lowered and there was water in the car, but the dog was worried when it was found.
According to KidsandCars, the inside of the car heats up very quickly, and even if the windows are cracked, the temperature can reach 125 degrees in minutes. The nonprofit said 80% of the car’s internal temperature rise occurs within the first 10 minutes.
The nonprofit also said breaking windows did not help slow the heating process or lower the maximum temperature.
So what can you do if you see a child, animal or vulnerable adult locked in a hot car?
Florida Safety Tips and Law
According to Fr. The 2016 lawa person in Florida who uses force to enter a vehicle to remove a vulnerable person or pet is not subject to civil liability for damage to the vehicle.
The law says that a person has immunity if:
- Make sure that the vehicle is blocked or otherwise there is no reasonable way for the vulnerable person or pet to get out of the vehicle without assistance
- Has a bona fide and well-founded belief, based on known circumstances, that entry into a vehicle is necessary because a vulnerable person or pet is in imminent danger of harm
- Ensures that law enforcement is notified or called 911 before entering the car or immediately thereafter
- Do not use more force than necessary to enter the car and remove the vulnerable person or pet.
- Stay with a vulnerable person or pet in a safe place, reasonably close to vehicles until law enforcement or other emergency services arrive
KidsandCars offers the following are heat stroke facts and safety tips:
- Make sure your child never stays alone in the car:
- Place a bag or baby diaper item in the front passenger seat to show that the baby is with you.
- Make it a habit to open the back door every time you park so that no one is left behind. To reinforce this habit, place in the back seat an item without which you cannot start your day (employee badge, laptop, phone, handbag, etc.)
- Ask your childcare provider to call you immediately if your child has not arrived on schedule.
- Clearly announce and confirm who is taking each child out of the car. Improper communication can lead to the thought that someone else has removed the child.
- Make sure children cannot get into the parked car:
- Always keep vehicles closed, especially in a garage or driveway. Ask neighbors and guests to do the same.
- Never leave car keys within reach of children.
- Use protective pads on handles and door alarms to keep children from leaving the house unnoticed.
- Teach children to horn or turn on hazard warning lights if they are stuck in a car.
- If a child is missing, immediately check the inside, floorboards and trunk of all vehicles in the area, even if they are closed.
- Never leave children alone in or near cars; even for a minute.
- If you see a friend’s child in the car, join. Call 911 immediately. If your child seems hot or sick, get him out of the car as soon as possible.
- Be especially careful during tensions, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays. Many tragedies are happening here.
- Use travel services when available (restaurant, bank, pharmacy, dry cleaner) and pay for gas at the pump