Every year, there are heartbreaking and preventable deaths due to children and pets being left alone in hot, parked cars. Animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes, and a child’s body temperature can rise up to 5 times faster than an adult’s, and will succumb to death with a 107 degree body temperature.


In 2016, 39 children died from heatstroke due to being left in a hot car, and 5 have suffered the same fate in 2017. The total number of U.S. heatstroke deaths since 1998 is 705, all due to people leaving their children in hot cars (an average of 37 deaths a year). Here are some things you should consider before leaving your child or pet unattended in a hot car:


No Exceptions, No Excuses: No matter how brief, it is never okay to leave your children or pets alone in a car, even with the windows cracked open. You might think you’re doing them a favor by letting them have some shut-eye while you quickly run into the store, but by leaving them in the car, you are exposing them to overheating, dehydration and even death. Either take them with you, or head home and run your errands later. You should always ask yourself these questions, “What if something happened to me? Would anyone know my children were left alone in the car?”


Be Aware of the Consequences: At 80 degrees on a sunny day, the inside of a car can reach 123 degrees after 60 minutes. When a core body temperature of 107 degrees or greater is reached, cells are damaged and internal organs begin to shut down, leading to death. Besides being in trouble with the law, you could lose your children or pets forever, just by making one bad decision.


Double Check and Triple Check: Often, parents and pet owners forget their little ones are even in the car, due to how quiet they may have been during the ride. When you arrive at your destination, always look back and inspect your back seat for passengers. Remember, forgetting isn’t an excuse either.


If You See Something, Say Something: If you see a child or pet has been left alone in a parked car, write down the color, model, make and license plate of the vehicle and call the police. Stay near to the car and keep an eye on the child or pet until authorities arrive to rescue them. If their lives seem to be in immediate danger or they appear unresponsive, find a witness and take reasonable steps to remove the child or pet from the vehicle. Then wait for authorities to arrive and explain what happened and what you needed to do.


With temperatures rising drastically this summer, we remind you, leaving children or pets in the car is never okay.

As one of Florida's largest home insurers, Florida Peninsula Insurance Company knows the importance of keeping your family and home safe and protected. We strive to provide efficient, cost-effective, peace-of-mind protection for our policyholders. To learn more about Florida Peninsula, please contact (877) 229-2244 or visit the Get a Quote section on our website.