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No Kids-in-Cars Deaths So Far

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Around this time last year, five children in Florida had died after being forgotten in a vehicle. So far this year, there are no reports of such deaths in Florida, according to the child safety website

"I'm happy as can be that there haven't been any deaths in Florida, and we'd really like to keep it that way,” said Janette Fennell, founder of

She said vehicles can heat up quickly to deadly temperatures, and over the years, 70 children in Florida have died after they were forgotten in a vehicle.  Across the country this year, five children have died from heat stroke in a vehicle.

“We need to make sure everybody gets involved. If you're out shopping or in any parking lot, be looking in cars,” she said. “If there is a situation where you see a child all alone, you really should call 911 immediately."

Fennell advises parents to get in the habit of opening the back door of their vehicle each time they get to a destination to make sure they're not leaving a child behind.

"Just put something in the backseat, like your handbag or your employee badge, your cell phone, your lunch, something that's going to cause you to open that back door every time you arrive at your destination,” Fennell said. “And we call that ‘Look Before You Lock.’ It's so simple, it doesn't cost a penny, and it only takes about three seconds."

According to Fennell, it can be easier than people think to forget their child in a car, and several hospitals across Florida are now sending new parents home with safety information cards to help prevent heat-stroke related deaths in vehicles. 

Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Children and Families is launching a statewide campaign focused on keeping children safe when they are in or near water. 

Lottie Watts covers health and health policy for Health News Florida, now a part of WUSF Public Media. She also produces Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show.