As The Weather Heats Up, The Danger Also Increases:

For Immediate Release: May 29, 2015

Contact: John Harrell, Northeast Fla. Region Communications Director (904) 233-7792

As The Weather Heats Up, The Danger Also Increases:
How Parents Can Keep Their Children Safe

JACKSONVILLE- As children get out for the summer, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is reminding parents to take extra precautions to keep their children safe during the summer season.

Water Safety: Always Make Sure That Your Children Swim With An Adult Watching!
In the past three years, six children have drowned in Duval County. As a whole, Florida loses more children under the age of five to drowning than any other state in the USA, with 73 drowning deaths last year. These deaths were 100 percent preventable.

There should always be a responsible adult present when a child is engaging in water activities. Distractions such as cell phone use or lengthy conversations should be avoided as drowning can occur in minutes. It is also important to have physical barriers put in place around home pools and to have children take swim lessons.

For more water safety tips visit:

Hot Cars: Never Leave A Child In A Car!
In just 10 minutes, the temperature of a parked vehicle can rise 20 degrees. The crack of a window, even by inches, is no match to combat the rising heat. This heat can be deadly, especially for children because their body temperatures rise five times faster than adults.

Although it may be hard to believe, children can easily be left behind in the car when parents are distracted, rushing, multi-tasking or have a change in routine. This is especially true during the summer months when kids are out of school and may have a different caretaker or driver.

Here are some tips to keep your kids safe this summer:

  • Be sure to check the back seat before you leave the vehicle. 
  • Put your purse, briefcase, lunch, etc. in the backseat so you are sure to look before you lock the door. 
  • Do not let your children play near vehicles; they may accidentally lock themselves in. 
  • If there is a change in plans and someone else is dropping the kids off at summer camp, have them call you at drop off so you know everyone made it safely. 
  • In the state of Florida it is a criminal offense to leave a child unattended in a vehicle; however, sadly for some parents, the loss is much greater than that of any arrest or prosecution.

Anyone who sees a young child, vulnerable adult, or animal left unattended in a vehicle during these extreme summer temperatures should contact emergency personnel immediately.

Selecting a Caregiver: Do You Really Know Who’s Watching Your Child?
Unfortunately, many cases of child abuse or neglect involve a non-relative caregiver, like a boyfriend, left alone to care for a child. More than 25 percent of DCF’s investigations during one recent year in Florida involved a non-relative as the alleged perpetrator.

In response, DCF launched the “Who’s Really Watching Your Child?” campaign targeted toward parents who need childcare but may know little about their selected caregiver. In partnership with several statewide organizations, the campaign provides parenting programs, child care initiatives, pediatrician support, and child protective investigator, case worker and child care provider training. For more information and resources, visit:

For more tips on child safety during the summer months, including video public service announcements, please visit: