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Be safe this summer with children, pets

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TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is reminding everyone to take additional steps to ensure that no child is left unattended in a vehicle this summer. This year, there have been two reported cases in Florida of children dying of heatstroke after being left in cars. Don’t be distracted when leaving your vehicle and take a second look in the back seat to ensure a child is not left behind.

Getting into a car that has been sitting in the sun on a hot summer day in Florida can be unbearable. The inside of a vehicle can heat up by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes and cracking a window open does little to keep the vehicle cool.

A child’s body temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult’s and heatstroke in a closed vehicle can occur when the temperature is as low as 57 degrees outside. For the safety of your children, never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even for a short period of time.

Florida law makes it a criminal offense to leave a child under the age of 6 unattended in a vehicle.

Tips for preventing heatstroke deaths in vehicles:

• Never leave any child unattended in a vehicle.

• Put something in the back seat that you will need at your final destination like a purse, briefcase, cell phone or shoe that will remind you to look in the back seat.

• If you see a child unattended in a vehicle, call 911.

• After checking to make sure your vehicle is empty, always lock it and teach children not to play in vehicles.

• Pets are also susceptible to heatstroke if left unattended in a closed vehicle.

A study by researchers at San Francisco State University showed that, on average, 38 children die each year as a result of heatstroke after being left in a closed vehicle.

Since 1998, there have been 66 child heatstroke deaths in Florida because of this, more than any other state.

To learn more about DHSMV and the services offered, visit www.flhsmv.gov.