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Hospital, Fire Department Work to Prevent Hot Car Deaths

 Lt. Steve Lawrence, Deputy Fire Marshal with St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue
Megan Milanese
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Over the past year, authorities responded to 183 emergency calls for children who were locked in cars in Pinellas County. Now, St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue is partnering with the Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition led by All Children's Hospital to raise awareness about the dangers of leaving kids unattended in cars.

A demonstration Tuesday at the Master Fire Station in St. Petersburg featured a large digital thermometer attached to a car to show how fast temperatures can rise. Lt. Steve Lawrence, the deputy fire marshal for the department, said it's important to remember that cars can quickly heat up to dangerous levels.

"It's a preventable injury if we just take a little more time and use a little more caution and take care of our children. Our most important item that we put in the backseat is our children" he said.

So far in 2014, two Florida children have died after being left in cars. The first was a two-year-old Sarasota girl; the second was a nine-month-old in Brevard County.

--Health News Florida is part of WUSF Public Media. For more health news, visit

Megan Milanese is an intern with WUSF’s health reporting project Health News Florida.