Tips for Suncoast parents on protecting their children from hot cars

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Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013 6:18 pm | Updated: 5:11 pm, Wed Jul 3, 2013.

If you've ever sat in the back of a car, with the windows and the doors closed, then you ,may know that the mercury rises dramatically and that resulted in the tragic death of a child left unattended in a vehicle this past weekend.

"Its just such a tragedy, its so sad," said Suncoast mother Valley Hayes. "I couldn't imagine what's going through the parents hearts and minds right now, its just terrible."

Captain Susan Pearson of the Sarasota County Fire Department said, "Our heat index is incredibly high and it can take less than thirty minutes for a child to extremely sick if not die. A lot of people think that there's going to be some ventilation in the car but, she cautions that is not the case in Florida given the heat and humidity." She explained, "It really is a life or death situation the temperature inside of a car can raise as much as twenty five degrees in less than half an hour for a small child that is really really dangerous, because children don't have the sweating mechanism that adults do."

Jean Shoemaker, Outreach Coordinator for Safe Kids at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersberg concurs that a childs body temperature can go up three to five times faster than that of an adult. She says "Symptoms progress very quickly from being flushed and dry skin to vomiting, then seizures followed by organ failure and ultimately death."

If you see a child left unattended in a car, Captain Pearson said you should call 911 immediately, this is not something to be taken lightly, certainly any responding units are not going to take it lightly." She adds that no parent should ever leave a child alone in a car for any reason.

You can put a purse or a brief-case next to the car seat so that you cant really get out of the car without those things or you can put a diaper bag in the front seat which will remind you, you have a child or just consciously say to yourself over and over that you have a child in the car and, always double check, go back into your vehicle, just look into the back seat even if its tinted windows and make sure everyone's accounted for.

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