JACKSONVILLE, FL (June 1, 2011) -- With temperatures rising and the start of summer just around the corner, it is important that drivers are knowledgeable about the potential dangers of leaving children, the elderly, or animals in a hot car.
A core body temperature of 107°F is considered lethal, as cells are damaged and internal organs shut down. Children’s thermoregulatory systems are not as efficient as an adult’s and their body temperatures warm at a rate three to five times fast than adults. (Source: San Francisco State University)
· 51% - child "forgotten" by caregiver (253 Children)
· 30% - child playing in unattended vehicle (150 Children)
· 17% - child intentionally left in vehicle by adult (86 Children)
· 1% - circumstances unknown (5 Children)
In 2009, one child died in Jacksonville due to hyperthermia in a vehicle. While there were no deaths of this type in 2010, JSO officers were called out 125 times for such incidents, according to records.
So far this year, there have been three incidents of heat related animal deaths, one occurring in a vehicle and the other two were leashed animals left in the sun without water (not in cars).
Pets are similar to humans as they can succumb to the dangerous temperature conditions just as easily. It is wise to plan ahead before you leave your house with your children or animals to run errands.
Anyone who sees a child or an animal that is left in an unattended or unsupervised vehicle should immediately call 9-1-1. Per Florida State Statutes 316.6135 and 828.12 both incidents are punishable by law.
The mission of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is to protect the lives and property of the citizens of this community, to preserve the peace and to prevent crime and disorder while constantly guarding personal liberties as prescribed by law.
Florida State Statute: 316.6135 Leaving children unattended or unsupervised in motor vehicles; penalty; authority of law enforcement officer.—
(1) A parent, legal guardian, or other person responsible for a child younger than 6 years of age may not leave such child unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle:
(a) For a period in excess of 15 minutes;
(b) For any period of time if the motor of the vehicle is running or the health of the child is in danger.
(2) Any person who violates the provisions of paragraph (1)(a) commits a misdemeanor of the second degree punishable as provided in s. 775.082
or s. 775.083
(3) Any person who violates the provisions of paragraph (1)(b) is guilty of a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable by a fine not less than $50 and not more than $500.
(4) Any person who violates subsection (1) and in so doing causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to a child commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082
, s. 775.083
, or s. 775.084
(5) Any law enforcement officer who observes a child left unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle in violation of subsection (1) may use whatever means are reasonably necessary to protect the minor child and to remove the child from the vehicle.
(6) If the child is removed from the immediate area, notification should be placed on the vehicle.
(7) The child shall be remanded to the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services pursuant to chapter 39, unless the law enforcement officer is able to locate the parents or legal guardian or other person responsible for the child.
Florida State Statute: 828.12. Cruelty to animals
(2) A person who intentionally commits an act to any animal which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, or causes the same to be done, is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.