Safety experts urge parents to ‘check the back seat’ | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested two parents in Lakeland after their child died a “torturous death” after being left in a hot car overnight.

The parents are facing charges of aggravated manslaughter of a child, a first-degree felony.

According to the sheriff’s office, Joel and Jazmine Rondon left their 18-month-old toddler in a car overnight when they returned home from partying around 3:00 a.m. The child was discovered the next day, still strapped in her car seat. The vehicle was parked in the driveway outside.

The sheriff’s office said both parents submitted to drug screens by the Department of Children and Families. Joel tested positive for meth, marijuana, and alcohol, and Jazmine tested positive for marijuana and alcohol.

Petra Stanton is the Safe Kids Supervisor with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. In 2022, 33 children died of heatstroke in vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“Many families don’t do this out of negligence. Nationally, the majority, over 50% of parents, have truly forgotten a child in the vehicle, so it wasn’t done intentionally. It wasn’t done out of negligence,” said Stanton.

According to NHTSA, Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees. Stanton said never leave a child in a vehicle unattended for any length of time and make it a habit to check your entire car, including the backseat. She recommends placing your shoe or a purse in the backseat.

“Somebody out of routine is driving them, tell them to create a reminder; one of them can be your purse or briefcase in the backseat or even your left shoe when you’re driving. You know you’re missing something, or it’s something you have to take with you,” said Stanton.

Stanton also encourages parents to keep their vehicles locked and store car keys out of the reach of children.

“The second way these tragedies happen is these families leave vehicles unlocked in the driveway, right, so the child, toddler may assume it’s a fun place to play in, right? They get themselves into the vehicle and become entrapped,” she said.

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