Car and Driveway Safety
Heatstroke Prevention – Never Leave Children in a Car
- As routines change, it’s imperative to remain vigilant and make sure all children are out of the vehicle and accounted for before leaving. Put your purse, phone, or shoe in the backseat as a reminder to check.
- Never leave a child or pet unattended in a vehicle. Florida temperatures are hot and will rapidly increase in minutes, even if parked in the shade or with a window cracked.
- The inside of a vehicle can heat up by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. A child’s body temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult’s and heatstroke in a vehicle can occur when the temperature is as low as 57 degrees outside.
- A violation of this law is a second-degree misdemeanor and can result in a fine of up to $500. If a child is injured, the violation becomes a third-degree felony.
- If you see a child or pet locked in a hot car, take immediate action by calling 911. Florida law, section 768.139, Florida Statutes, provides for the rescue of a vulnerable person or domestic animal from a motor vehicle.
- Keep vehicles in driveways or garages locked and store keys out of a child’s reach to avoid the chance of becoming trapped in a vehicle.
If you see a child or pet locked in a hot car, take immediate action by calling 911. Florida law, section 768.139, Florida Statutes, provides for the rescue of a vulnerable person or domestic animal from a motor vehicle. These good samaritans may have immunity for damage to the motor vehicle if:
- The vehicle is locked and there is no other reasonable way for the person or animal to get out;
- Has reasonable belief based upon the circumstances that entry is necessary because the person or animal is in imminent danger;
- Notifies law enforcement or calls 911 prior to or immediately after entering the vehicle;
- Uses no more force than is necessary; and
- Remains with the person or animal until law enforcement or other first responder arrives.
Prevent Vehicular Backover – Check First, Then Reverse
- Teach children not to play in or around cars and to move away from a vehicle when a driver gets in the car to start it. This includes keeping toys and bikes away from where a vehicle operates.
- Always walk around your vehicle and check the area around it before backing up. The smaller the child, the larger the chance of not seeing them.
- Instruct children in the area stand to the side of the driveway or sidewalk so you can see them as you are backing out of a driveway or parking space.
- Make sure to look behind you while backing up slowly in case a child dashes behind your vehicle unexpectedly.
- Teach your children to keep their toys and bikes out of the driveway.
- Be aware of your surroundings by checking your mirrors, listen for what is happening outside the vehicle by rolling the windows down, and backing out slowly.
- Many cars are equipped with detection devices that provide rearview video or warning sounds, but they cannot completely take the place of actively walking around your car to make sure children are safely out of the way. Do not rely solely on these devices to detect what is behind your vehicle.
- In 2022, over 40 percent of all vehicular backover incidents resulted in a minor or serious bodily injury for children age 0-10.