For years, Texas has led the nation in child hot car deaths, but now, Florida is topping that list.
So far this year nationwide 18 kids have died after being left in a hot car and six of those occurred in the Sunshine State.
After Texas, Florida has had at least 117 child-hot car deaths since 1990, according to Kids and Car Safety.
On Monday, state officials proposed simple steps for prevention and one article of clothing could just save a child’s life.
“We are here today because of this tragedy, because six of Florida’s beautiful children lost their lives from being in a hot car,” Ounce of Prevention President Jennifer Ohlsen said.
Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris said parents may need reminders and that even a shoe in the backseat with a child could make a difference.
“Leave something that you know you can’t live without,” Harris said. “You might forget a backpack, right? You might even forget your purse. No one’s leaving their car without a shoe on their foot.”
Kids and Car Safety, a nonprofit organization, says however that prevention actually starts with the parents’ perception of hot car deaths.
Amber Rollins, the Director for Kids and Car Safety, said while technology and/or a shoe could help, parents need to be self-aware.
“We believe technology is going to be the solution to this because in order to rely on a shoe or any other safety tip or habit to protect a child, you’re relying on that parent admitting that this could happen to them,” Rollins said.
In the past, it has taken legislative action to address the issue of hot car deaths in the state.
Not only does Florida law allow passersby to break car windows to rescue children or animals in distress, but in 2021 lawmakers approved a measure requiring childcare transport vehicles to have alarms.