(239) 390-8000 ~ 21500 Three Oaks Parkway, Estero, Florida 33928

Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties, Estero Fire Rescue and community partners demonstrate danger of children left in vehicles

Reggie McKinnon, parent advocate who lost his child to heatstroke will share his story

What:             Mock demonstration for National Heatstroke Prevention Day
When:             Wednesday July 31 at 11 a.m.
Where:           Estero Fire Rescue, 21500 Three Oaks Parkway in Estero
Who:               Chief Scott Vanderbrook, Estero Fire Rescue; Michele King, Director of Child Advocacy at the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida; Lt. Carmine Marceno, Lee County Sheriff’s Office; Mike Caroll, Regional Managing Director of the Suncoast Region for DCF; Reggie McKinnon, parent advocate; Sally Kreuscher, Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties Coordinator; and Lee County Sheriff’s Office

Why: On National Heatstroke Prevention Day, July 31, and as temperatures continue to swell across the state, Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties and community partners ask everyone to pay particular attention to their tiniest passengers. A child can experience a debilitating heatstroke or worse within minutes of being left in a vehicle, where temperatures can soar to 175 degrees during Florida’s blistering summers.  A child’s thermoregulatory system is not as efficient as an adult’s, meaning a child’s core body temperature rises three to five times faster than that of an adult, leading to greater potential for heatstroke.

“Forgetting a child in a car can happen to anyone, which is one of the reasons we are urging everyone – not just parents – to help prevent child heatstroke deaths,” said Sally Kreuscher, Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties Coordinator. “It doesn’t take long for a locked car to become a life-threatening place for a child. By calling 911 when you see an unattended child in a vehicle, you can help save a life.”

In today’s exercise, firefighters from Estero Fire Rescue will demonstrate what happens when you dial 9-1-1 to report an unattended child using one of their vehicles and a life-sized thermometer. Many community partners will be on hand to discuss how their agency plays a role in preventing this type of situation. Also, parent advocate, Reggie McKinnon will share his story on losing a child.

Last month in Lee County, police arrested a woman for leaving her infant in the car while she shopped in the mall. In an effort to protect children and educate parents, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) has produced public service announcement (PSA) as part of its summer safety series focused on the dangers of leaving children in hot cars. The PSA is available as a three-minute short film: http://youtu.be/dwQv8tEfnJQ and abbreviated 60-second spot: http://youtu.be/7XfJ4J5qpP8

Led by Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children in the United States.  Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Founded in 1996, Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties is a community partner of Healthy Lee and member of the Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition. For more information, visit www.safekidsleecollier.org.

Media Contacts: Sally Kreuscher, Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties, sally.kreuscher@leememorial.org, 239-343-6199 Susan Lindenmuth, Estero Fire Rescue, lindenmuth@esterofire.org, 239-390-8000 Holly Boldrin, Priority Marketing, holly@prioritymarketing.com, 239-267-2638