Summer is time to take steps to prevent hot car deaths

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With the soaring temperatures we’ve been feeling, it's time to remind parents about the dangers of leaving children in hot cars.

Just this week, a 6-month-old baby in Iowa died after being left inside a car that reached 95 degrees. He was the 12th child to die inside a hot car in the United States so far this year.

For some, the possibility is hard to fathom. 

"I can't imagine leaving a child or anyone locked in a car with the heat that we have in Florida," said Andrew Brigg, a new dad. Nationally, 12 kids have died after being left in hot cars.

"It's terrifying," said Brigg. "It’s terrifying and real."

"Half the time that it happens, children are forgotten in the backseat," said Cynthia Dennis with Safe Kids Northeast Florida.

Dennis said in a lot of these cases, there's been a change in routine and parents are thinking about something else behind the wheel.

"People just kind of go on autopilot," said Dennis.

A child's body heats up three to five times faster than an adult's. News4jax meteorologist Rebecca Barry said we're in for highs in the mid-90s and on some days, triple digits. 

"It's extremely dangerous to leave anything living inside a closed car. It's the greenhouse effect. The sunshine goes into the windows and makes it even hotter inside than it is outside and in a very short amount of time,” said Barry.

It only takes one hour for the heat in your car to reach higher than 120 degrees. Preventing tragedies takes diligence and good planning.

"Have somebody call you. Set your timer in your phone. Have a system set up with the daycare center or babysitter where if you don't get there, they call," said Dennis.

If you see someone else's child in a car alone, don't just stand by. Pick up a phone and call 911.

Another idea, some car seat manufacturers are designing new car seats which have special sensors. These sensors trigger a series of tones if a child is still buckled in when the ignition is switched off. EvenFlo sells one for about $150.

About the Authors:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.