Children are dying in hot cars from heat stroke and it’s becoming an all too-familiar tragedy in Florida. In many cases, parents, grandparents and other caregivers simply forgot the young children were in the back of vehicles as they ran errands, went to work or were even at home.
“It happens to everyone in all walks of life,” said Donna Bryan, the Safety Council of Palm Beach County’s marketing director.
The latest victim was Jordan Coleman, 4, of Sunrise. Earlier this month, he was left inside a sweltering SUV owned by a child care center when it was 92 degrees outside.
There have been many others:
In 2010, Haile Brockington, 2, died after being left in a child care center van in Delray Beach. Her death led to a new law in Palm Beach County requiring safety alarms in child car vans.
That same year, 14-month-old Kimberly James died after her father left her in his car outside a Miramar church.
In 2004, a Parkland dentist left his son, Andres Sierra, 3, outside his dental practice west of Boca Raton. Left in the SUV for three hours, he died.
Child-safety advocates have launched campaigns to stop these preventable deaths. In the latest, the safety council is handing out 20,000 blue bracelets inscribed with “Baby In Back” in bold type. They serve as simple reminders to parents and other caregivers that their precious bundles are in the back seat.
Since 1998, 58 Florida children have died from heat stroke after being left in cars, the second-highest number in the country behind Texas, according to San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences.
In Broward County, five children have died from heat stroke in a car since 2003. Palm Beach County has had seven deaths. Last year, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue received 450 calls for children locked in vehicles, up from 427 in 2010.