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Florida's heat deadly for kids left in vehicles

They won't be forgotten now

In the two decades from 1990 to 2010, 60 children in Florida died of heatstroke because they were left in a sweltering vehicle, according to KidsAndCars.org, a nonprofit child safety group in Leawood, Kan. That was the second-highest total in the United States, second only to Texas, and represented 10 percent of the cases during that period.

A child's body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult's. About a third of the children who died from overheating inside a vehicle were less than a year old, according to the website.

When the body's temperature reaches 104 degrees, heatstroke sets in. At 107 degrees, organs begin to fail. On an 80-degree day, temperatures inside a car can climb above 110 in half an hour.

Here is a selection of recent cases in Florida, including one close call:

September 2010: Ruebensa "Hally" Rozin, 3, died after she was left alone in a hot car outside a Tampa church. Parishioners at the Ebenezer Baptist Haitian Church administered CPR after finding a faint pulse. Police say Hally, her 1-year-old brother, and a 12-year-old were driven to church by a 25-year-old cousin.

September 2010: Monique Andre, 25, left her 6-month-old daughter in the car on a sweltering Tallahassee day while she went inside to use a friend's computer. Tallahassee police say the temperature inside the car reached 130 degrees. When she came back, two hours later, Andre found Zariah panting and sweating, covered in her own vomit. Andre cleaned up the child, then continued to run errands before returning the child to her father, who took the infant to the hospital. Andre pleaded no contest to aggravated manslaughter and child neglect and was sentenced to 15 years.

March 2010: Reginald McKinnon walked out of work to find his 1-year-old daughter dead in his SUV. The Fort Myers man had taken her to a doctor's appointment, but the appointment went long and he returned to his office, forgetting she was in the back seat.

August 2009: Michael Jon Ervin Jr. drove to Brandon Regional Hospital asking for help for his two children, 17-month-old Zionna Ervin and 5-month-old Kaden Warren. Doctors later said the children had core temperatures so high that it stunned the medical staff who tried unsuccessfully to revive them. Zionna's temperature was 109.3 degrees and Kaden's was 105.6 degrees. Ervin, 26, was charged with two counts of aggravated manslaughter of a child.

August 2011: A woman in North Naples was walking by a green Mercury in the parking lot of a Walmart a little after 6 p.m., when she noticed a baby crying inside the car. The car's doors were locked and the windows were rolled up. Sheriff's deputies and firefighters forced their way into the car to remove the child. The infant was described as "hot to touch," according to the report. An announcement was made inside the Walmart for the owner of the car to come outside. Joseph A. Hubbard, 25, the father of the child was charged with child neglect in a motor vehicle in excess of 15 minutes, a misdemeanor.

Source: Times files

How to protect your child
from car-related heatstroke

• Put something in the back seat that you will
need at your destination, such as your briefcase, purse, cell phone or employee identification.

• Have your day care provider call you at all
your phone numbers if your child does not show
up for day care.

• Keep your car locked with the windows up, even in the driveway or garage. Keep keys out of reach of children, who can climb into unlocked vehicles.

Florida's heat deadly for kids left in vehicles 03/30/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 30, 2012 3:21pm]

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