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State News

Hot Cars An Infant Deathtrap Say Officials

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Tom Flanigan
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With outside temperatures soaring, the heat inside parked vehicles can go higher still. Florida is now ramping up its efforts to make sure little kids don't wind up trapped inside those vehicles.

During a media event on Saturday, June 24,Tallahassee Fire Battalion Chief Jake Anderson was describing the activities of an emergency crew that was breaking into a parked and locked car to rescue a small child left alone inside.

"We'll take a window out that is furthest away from that child just to reduce the risk of the breaking glass causing an issue there," he narrated as the team of first responders punched through the driver's side window.

The demonstration at Fire Station Number Three was a simulation, using a doll strapped into a car seat. but Jeanna Olson with the Florida Department of Children and Families said the danger to actual children is very real.

"When sitting in a car, the temperature can get up to 50 degrees higher than outside and 80% of total heat rise occurs in the first 30 minutes," she told reporters.

And the Highway Patrol's Sergeant Stewart Smith said state law is clear on the matter.

"A parent or legal guardian or other person responsible for a child younger than 6 years of age may not leave the child unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle," he said, quoting the Florida statute.

Passers by are also allowed to break into a vehicle to rescue an unattended child - or pet - if it appears they're in danger.