Local doctors start campaign to fight hot car deaths

7 children have died since January of heat stroke

By Jennifer Waugh - The Morning Show anchor, I-Team reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - TraumaOne injury prevention along with the Pediatric Emergency Department at UF Health are teaming up to bring awareness and promote prevention of a deadly killer this time of year in cars.

At least 38 children die every year from heat stroke associated with being left in a hot car. Some of these children died after they managed to climb into an unlocked car to play or hide and were trapped inside when they were unable to get themselves out.

While it is hard to believe someone could accidentally forget their child is in a car, it happens more often than anyone realizes. 

"When I was headed out the door this morning to do this interview, I told my wife I was going to be talking about kids who are left in hot cars, she questioned how anyone could do that, but it happens all the time," explained Dr. Bracken Burns, trauma surgeon and medical director of TraumaOne Flight Services and Injury Prevention.

Dr. Phyllis Hendry, a UF Pediatrician and Professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics said children get hot faster than adults.

"A car can heat up 30-40 degrees in a matter of minutes," she explained.

News4Jax conducted a test Tuesday morning on The Morning Show. We used a thermometer that sticks onto the glass of a car window to measure the temperature of the car to give perspective on how hot it gets inside. At 8 a.m., it was 80 degrees. By 8:45 a.m., it had increased to 130 degrees.

TraumaOne and UF Health have created neon velcro slap bracelets that parents or caregivers can wrap around their wrists before leaving home to remind them their child is in the backseat.

These wrist bands are available at any UF Health ER.  If you would like to receive some of these wrist bands to hand out during community events, or would like one for your family, call Chad McIntyre with UF Health at 904-244-4548. The wrist bands are free.

There is also a fundraiser called A Night For Heroes that raises money for these kinds of campaigns. To learn more, go to anightforheros.com. The event is Feb, 6, 2016.

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