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Hot car deaths remain a danger for children. USDOT launches campaign to save lives

Kids left in hot cars can die in less than an hour with rising summer temperatures. It's why the US Department of Transportation has launched a new campaign.

TAMPA, Fla. — The COVID-19 pandemic has changed normal routines, and while not as many people are driving to work every day, some are still on the roads. 

Here in Florida and many other states, there's no question it's incredibly hot outside. That's why the US Department of Transportation has launched a new $3 million campaign called "Park, Look, Lock" to prevent more tragedies.

"It's important for the public to understand that even if they don't have a child of their own, neighborhood children can climb into an unlocked vehicle during the hot summer months, with tragic consequences," Secretary Elaine Chao of the US Department of Transportation said.

The USDOT reports on average 38 children die after being left alone in hot cars per year. 2018 was a record year with 53 children reportedly died in hot cars after being left alone by a caregiver or parent. In 2019 there were 52 deaths. So far in 2020, 6 children have died.

As part of their new campaign, the USDOT stresses these deaths are 100% preventable.  

Florida is among 18 states the USDOT is targeting with TV and Radio reminders to park, look, lock to keep children safe. The other states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

While some might think the shade may be a bit safer, experts say that's not true. The USDOT reports heatstroke deaths inside cars parked in the shade with temperatures less than 80 degrees.  

RELATED: Video: Body cam footage captures moment police officer helps save baby's life

RELATED: How does a parent forget a child in a car? A neuroscientist explains

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