Bill brings awareness to ‘hot car’ deaths

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In recent years, dozens of toddlers in Florida and other states have lost their lives due to extreme temperatures after being left unattended in a vehicle. 

House Bill 591, introduced in November, designates the month of April as Hot Car Death Prevention Month.

This bill will help to sponsor events to promote public awareness of the dangers of leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle and provide methods to prevent hot car deaths.

According to an article published by the National Safety Council, 29 children died by hot car deaths in 2023. So far in 2024, no deaths have been reported. 

On average, 38 children under 15 die each year from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle. Nearly every state has experienced at least one death since 1998.

Leah Dudey, a third-year public relations major at Florida A&M and mother to 3-year-old Braelyn, shared her thoughts on the importance of the bill. 

“I think the passing of this bill will bring awareness to a heart-breaking issue,” Dudey said. 

As a mother and full-time college student, Dudey said she understands  how issues like these can occur. 

“As a mom, you have a lot on your mind,” Dudey said. “You’re thinking about the things you must handle for yourself and baby. It’s unfortunate that these issues have to happen for us to bring awareness, but this can shed light on the children’s lives and grieving parents.”

Carol Miles, a devoted mother and property manager at The Boulevard apartment complex, said it pains her deeply to discover a child’s life has been lost to a hot-car death.

“Growing up in the late ’60s and early 70s, situations like these were nearly nonexistent,” Miles said. 

After becoming a woman during the 80s, Miles said it wasn’t unusual to leave a child in the car in order to run into a store. 

“I would often leave my baby for a quick run into the post office, but never on a full shopping spree,” Miles said. 

Like Dudey, Miles believes that parents are under so much pressure, and simple tasks such as remembering to get your baby can become a lost thought. 

“With the introduction of social media and daily stressors, a simple task of remembering to bring your child into your home or grocery store can be something to easily forget,” Miles said. 

Miles said she thinks passing this legislation is important. 

“This bill is a good way to spread awareness,” Miles said. “If it could reach 5-10 people, it can spread anywhere.”