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An Important Reminder: Kids in Hot Cars: June 5, 2012

It is absolutely unthinkable to mom Tina Moore.

“I just don’t understand how parents can just leave their children in a car and just end up going into a store thinking it’s all alright.”

If people were thinking about the potential consequences, they probably wouldn’t do it.

“In 2011, 33 children died in the United States from being left in a hot car. We had two incidents in Florida alone, one locally in Cape Coral,” says Michele King.

Michele is a child advocate with the Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

“Ninety-two percent of the incidences are children that are four years and under, so these are children left in a car seat or booster seat that aren’t able to get themselves out of the car,” says King.

Experts believe lives could be saved if people remembered the gist of this three letter word: ACT. The ‘A’ is for avoid; avoid leaving kids in the car and lock the doors behind you. The ‘C’ is for creating a reminder.

“We recommend that you take something valuable that you’re going to need that day and you put it in the back seat next to the baby or the child. So you might put your purse your briefcase your cell phone back there because you’re going look for that,” says King.

Many of these tragedies begin with a break in routine. In our fast-paced, multi-tasking world people are more easily distracted. So another way to remind yourself is to put your technology to work.

“There is actually a new app called Baby Reminder for your phone that you can download,” says King.

It doesn’t take the place of parental responsibility, but the free app has an alarm system you schedule yourself. It automatically sends follow up alerts. Creating reminders is especially important if someone else is driving your kids.

“I do worry, especially if I have them with a babysitter that I’m not too familiar,” says Moore.

Lastly, the letter ‘T’ is for take action. If you see any child in a car, call 9-1-1.

“It’s a really important message to get out to parents and to caregivers that they need to look in the car for their children,” says King.