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Look Before You Lock in Florida

June 8, 2012
Colson Hicks Eidson

Residents or visitors to the Sunshine State are familiar with the downside of Paradise: battling the heat and humidity outside. However, few can imagine what the conditions are like inside a parked vehicle on a sunny, Florida afternoon. Unfortunately, some children experience those conditions because their caregivers leave them unattended inside a vehicle. The temperature inside a car can quickly rise above 100 degrees. It does not take long for hyperthermia, or heat stroke, to set in on a child inside the car.

In Florida, it is against the law to leave a child under age 6 alone in a car for more than 15 minutes. In addition, it is illegal to leave any child alone in a car with the engine running for any length of time. If violated, you risk a fine of up to $500.00. With that in mind, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the following safety tips:

  • Teach children not to play in, on, or around vehicles.
  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
  • Lock all unattended vehicles.
  • Check your vehicle before locking it – make sure to look for sleeping children.
  • Do things to remind yourself that a child is in the vehicle; write yourself a note or place bags and other personal items in the backseat where the child is located.

In 2010, 49 children died in the United States from heat stroke as a result of sitting unattended inside a vehicle. In Florida, a daycare worker left a 2-year-old Palm Beach County girl inside the daycare van. The toddler suffered heat stroke and died before help arrived.

Is someone’s negligence responsible for your child’s injury?