COCOA, Fla. - The Brevard County Sheriff's Office is partnering with the Florida Highway Patrol and the Florida Department of Children and Families to raise awareness about children being left alone in vehicles this summer.
The three agencies held a news conference Monday morning at the FHP offices on State Road 520 in Cocoa.
Thermometers and a doll representing a child were staged in two vehicles.
The temperature read 124 degrees after Brevard County firefighters broke a window and pulled the doll out of one of the vehicles.
The backseat of the Lexus was almost 40 degrees hotter than the outside temperature.
"And we are just getting ready to hit the really hot months of the year," Brevard County Sheriff's Office spokesman Tod Goodyear said.
DCF said a heat stroke can kill a child in just 15 minutes.
According to data from Golden Gate Weather Services, 42 children died in hot cars nationally last year.
2017 was the deadliest year for hot car deaths since 2013.
Florida trails only Texas as the deadliest state. DCF said more than half of the cases are accidents.
"It's a natural response to think, 'This will never happen to me.' But be assured that parents who have lost their child to a hot car incident used to think the same thing," Bill D'Aiuto of DCF said.
Suggested ways to avoid tragedy include keeping in the backseat something else you know you'll look for like your wallet or phone.
If citizens see a child left locked and alone inside a vehicle, the law is on their side. That's even if the car is running with the AC on because it's illegal in Florida to leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
State troopers encourage citizens to call for help and break a window. That also goes for pets and the elderly.
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