LISTEN LIVE

hot car death

Bill Would Crack Down On Leaving Children In Vehicles

Sep 1, 2017

It would be illegal to leave children age 6 or younger unattended in cars for any length of time, under a measure filed Thursday by state Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton.

Governor Rick Scott is weighing in on last week’s death of a young boy left in a hot day care van for almost half a day, and possible changes to Florida law.

Twenty years ago, and just days before Halloween, Janette Fennell and her husband returned home from a night out with friends, only to find an unpleasant surprise waiting for them. When they pulled into the garage of their San Francisco home, two armed men appeared, forced the couple into the trunk of their car — then drove away.

And the last that Janette knew, their 9-month-old son, Alex, was still sitting in his car seat.

Evenflo photo

With the summer months heating up, many parents are taking their children on trips to the park, the beach and other attractions.

However, parents may need to be concerned about more than just sunburn and temper tantrums. Florida ranks number two in the nation for hot-car deaths among children.

Children’s bodies heat up faster than adults do, making them more susceptible to heat stroke in a hot car.

Authorities say a 16-month-old north Florida girl died when her father left her in the car after forgetting to drop her off at day care.

It's the second hot car death reported in the nation in 2015, and the first in Florida. 

Columbia County Sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 call Tuesday afternoon and found the child was unresponsive.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement identified the child's mother as Wendy Kwon, an assistant state attorney, and her father as Young Kwon, an assistant public defender.

Over the past year, authorities responded to 183 emergency calls for children who were locked in cars in Pinellas County. Now, St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue is partnering with the Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition led by All Children's Hospital to raise awareness about the dangers of leaving kids unattended in cars.

KidsandCars.org

So far this year, 15 children have died in the U.S. after they were accidentally left behind in hot cars. Florida has had four of those deaths, more than any other state. 

"We're at a high point for this time of year as far as how many deaths have happened," said Amber Rollins, director of KidsandCars.org, a national advocacy group focused on preventing non-traffic fatalities. "It has so far been a very bad year." 

According to Rollins, 2010 was the worst year, with a total of 49 children who died from heatstroke inside vehicles.