Five Tips to Help Avoid the Tragedy of Child Hyperthermia This Summer

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Since 1998, more than 50 children have died after being left or forgotten in cars in Florida. More than 150 more have been injured. Nationwide, there are, on average, around 30 deaths a year, according to KidsAndCars.org, a Kansas-based group that compiles statistics on such cases. The punishments, when adults are charged with a crime, range from probation to 20 years in prison, the sentence for Antonio Balta after his 9-month-old daughter, Veronika, died in March 2004.
 
Each of these cases is a tragedy, of course, but one of the worst parts is that nearly every case could have been prevented with either awareness or the use of technology that's already available.

We'll have some more coverage of this topic later this month, but here is a list of safety tips parents can follow to help avoid this horrific accident.

  • You should place a purse or a cell phone -- or anything you know you'll need to carry from the car -- on the floor of the back seat every day no matter what, even when the child isn't in the car.

  • You can set a cell phone or BlackBerry reminder to drop the kid off at daycare or school.

  • Set your computer Outlook program to ask, "Did you drop off your child today?"

  • Have a plan with the childcare provider to call if your kid doesn't arrive as expected.

  • If a child goes missing, you should always check cars and trunks first.

And of course, safety advocates stress you should never leave children alone in a vehicle -- even for a few minutes.

UPDATE: As if this point needed any more driving home, this morning brought news that a father in Cape Coral has been charged in the accidental death of his 18-month old daughter. If convicted, Reginald McKinnon, 38, faces up to five years in prison.

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