Jimmy Patronis Warns of the Dangers of Leaving Children, Pets in Hot Cars

Following a recent report of a 9-month-old child’s hot car death in the Panhandle, on Tuesday, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis warned parents, caregivers and loved ones to never leave a child or pet unattended in a vehicle.

Hot car deaths are a tragedy often caused when a parent or caregivers daily routine changes and children are left unattended in a parked vehicle. In 2018 and 2019, more than 50 children died of vehicular heatstroke each year.

“As temperatures heat up across Florida this summer, it’s vital that parents and caregivers know the dangers of leaving children and pets in hot cars. Do not leave a small child alone in a car under any circumstances. Temperatures inside a parked car increase rapidly, becoming dangerously hot in a matter of minutes. Since 1998, almost 886 children have died nationwide from vehicular heatstroke, including four child deaths so far this year. These heartbreaking numbers are preventable by following a few car safety tips, staying alert when your daily routine changes, and avoiding distractions while driving. Remember to check the back seat before walking away from your vehicle and to always look before you leave. Following these tips can help you and your loved ones avoid a hot car tragedy this summer,” Patronis said.

The CFO’s office offered the following Four Tips to Avoid Hot Car Tragedies:

  1. If you transport children, make it a routine to open the back door of your car every time you park, even if the child is not with you at the time.


  1. If you are driving a child, after you buckle them in a car seat or booster seat put something you need for your destination in the back seat as a reminder to open the back door, such as: a cellphone, employee badge, handbag, or other item you need to keep with you.


  1. Set the alarm on your cell phone or computer calendar as a reminder to drop your child off at childcare. Remember to make the alarm song/sound distinct and different from all other alert sounds on your device.


  1. If you have a change in routine, such as your spouse or parent dropping your child off at childcare, make sure you confirm that the drop-off was made.



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