Heatstroke Prevention – Never Leave Children in a Car
- Keep vehicles in driveways or garages locked and store keys out of children’s reach to avoid children becoming trapped in a vehicle.
- When getting out of your vehicle, check to make sure all children are out of the vehicle and accounted for. Put a purse or other important item in the backseat with your child as a reminder.
- Never leave a child unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle. It is extremely hot, especially in Florida during the summer and can result in the child’s injury or death.
- Florida law states that children under six should never be left in a motor vehicle for longer than 15 minutes. Furthermore, children under six should not be left in a vehicle for any period of time if the motor is running, the health of the child is in danger or if the child appears to be in distress. A violation of this law is a second degree misdemeanor and can result in a fine of up to $500. If a child is injured, the violation becomes a third degree felony.
If you see a child or pet locked in a hot car, take immediate action by calling 911. Florida law, section 768.139, Florida Statutes, provides for the rescue of a vulnerable person or domestic animal from a motor vehicle. These good Samaritans may have immunity for damage to the motor vehicle if:
- The vehicle is locked and there is no other reasonable way for the person or animal to get out;
- Has reasonable belief based upon the circumstances that entry is necessary because the person or animal is in imminent danger;
- Notifies law enforcement or calls 911 prior to or immediately after entering the vehicle;
- Uses no more force than is necessary; and
- Remains with the person or animal until law enforcement or other first responder arrives.
- Teach children to never play in, on, around, or under vehicles. Keep toys or bicycles off the driveway.
- Designate safe play areas for your children that are off the driveway and away from vehicles.
- If children play in the driveway, have an adult supervise at all times.
- Keep vehicles in driveways or garages locked and store keys out of children’s reach to avoid children getting in a vehicle and turning it on or moving it on accident.
- When backing out of the driveway or parked spot:
- Walk around your vehicle to check for children playing and make sure all children are safe and accounted for.
- Turn off your radio to better hear your surroundings. Roll down windows to listen for children or pedestrians.
- Know your vehicle’s blind spots and look again before backing. Check your rearview and side mirrors.
- Keep your foot on the brake until you completely shift into reverse. Look directly through the rear window and back out slowly.
- Look both ways especially over a sidewalk or other area where children or pedestrians are present like school zones and residential areas.
- Florida law states that the driver of a vehicle shall not back up unless such movement can be made with safety and without interfering with other traffic. Take a second look if you have any doubt!
- Refer to the official Florida Driver License Handbook for more information on car and driveway safety.