Florida recently reported another case of vehicular heatstroke, marking the 21st of its kind in the U.S. this year.
Even as fall approaches hot car deaths involving children are still on the rise. One of the most recent cases happened in Florida and involved a newborn baby who was “left for several hours inside a car.” That incident was the 21st of its kind in the U.S. this year and was the second case of vehicular heatstroke in Florida for the year. According to KidsandCars.org, it was the seventh in the nation for the month.
In the most recent incident, the baby was found by Bay County Sheriff’s Office deputies when they responded to a call to a Panama City home. A statement from the sheriff’s office said, “Deputies arrived and discovered a newborn had been left in a vehicle for possibly several hours.”
Even though the deputies attempted to save the child, they were unsuccessful and the infant was pronounced dead at the scene. At the moment, the sheriff’s office is trying to piece together a timeline of the incident. According to reports, the high temperature in the area was 91 degrees the day of the incident.
Year after year, Florida has reported high numbers of child fatalities inside hot cars. According to KidsandCar.org, since 1990, the state ranks second in the state when it comes to cases. Texas has recorded 140 cases since 1990, including five deaths already in 2020. The last two years have been especially fatal. In the last two years, “a record 54 children died of vehicular heatstroke in 2018, followed by 53 a year ago.”
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, few people have been on the roads, so there has been a “lower than average number” of fatalities in the country. Amber Rollins, the Director of KidsandCars.org, said her organization is “concerned that the numbers will increase as routines continue to shift and families begin going back to work and school.” In a recent news release, she noted that a “startling 56% of hot car deaths are the result of children being unknowingly left inside vehicles.”
To help avoid future fatalities, Rollins and her nonprofit organization recommend the following tips, according to its recent news release:
- Make it a habit to open the back door every time you get out of the car to make sure no children are left inside. Place an essential item, like your cell phone or wallet, in the backseat to enforce this habit.
- Keep your car locked at all times, especially when parked in a driveway or garage.
- Keep your keys out of children’s reach.
- Teach your child to honk if they are ever stuck in a car.