Local advocates warn about dangers for kids and pets in hot cars – an accident that “could never happen to me”

Media Advisory:
May 19, 2016

Contacts:
Laura Fontanills, B2 Communications, (727) 895-5030 x 106 (o), 813) 215-1271 (c), Laura@B2Communications.com
Natalie Harrell, Department of Children and Families, SunCoast Region, (813) 337-5854 (o), (813) 784-1898 (c), Natalie.Harrell@MyFLFamilies.com
Charlene Cobb, Sunstar Paramedics, Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition, (727) 582-2056 (o), (727) 224-1067, ccobb@sunstarems.com

Local advocates warn about dangers for kids and pets in hot cars –
an accident that “could never happen to me”
See how quickly the temperature rises inside a locked car on May 26

What: Florida Department of Children and Families, Pinellas County Animal Services, SPCA Tampa Bay, Sunstar Paramedics, and Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition led by John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital are encouraging parents, caregivers and pet owners to become aware of the dangers of leaving children and pets in a hot car and taking action to prevent it. The four groups will demonstrate how quickly a car can heat up during a joint press conference on May 26.

Many parents, caregivers and pet owners believe this type of tragic accident could never happen to them, but it can happen to anyone. Experts will explain why kids and animals are at increased risk from heatstroke injuries and death, and what steps parents can take to prevent this type of accident from happening to their child and “fur-child.” They’ll also explain the new Florida law that empowers bystanders to take action if they see a child, a senior or animal alone in a hot car and in distress from the heat.

When: Thursday, May 26, 2016, 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
(Interviews and demonstration of the effects of a hot car to follow the press conference.)

Where: SPCA Tampa Bay, 9099 130th Avenue, Largo, FL 33773.

Why: Six children in the United States have already died in hot cars this year, after being forgotten or accidentally getting locked inside while playing. These types of mistakes are dangerous anywhere, but Florida’s year-round warm weather makes it an even greater concern in the Tampa Bay region.

Last year, 24 children in the United States died in hot cars, including four in Florida. And according to one report, 11 canine police officers also died last year due to heat exhaustion, proving that even the most highly trained individuals can make this type of fatal mistake.

The four local agencies want to educate the public about the dangers of leaving children or animals in hot cars, even for just a few minutes, in hopes of preventing any accidental deaths or injuries from occurring in the Tampa Bay community.

Visual Opportunities: A thermometer will be set up inside a car to show how quickly a car’s interior becomes dangerously hot. Sit in the car to demonstrate how quickly it becomes warm.

Interview Opportunities: Florida Department of Children & Families regional managing director for Suncoast Region Lisa Mayrose, Pinellas County Animal Services bureau director Doug Brightwell, SPCA Tampa Bay CEO Martha Boden and Sunstar Paramedics community outreach coordinator and Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition vice-chair Charlene Cobb.

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