Published: Jul 31, 2014 5:38 AM EDT
Updated: Jul 31, 2014 5:10 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- National Heatstroke Prevention Day presents the ideal opportunity to remind everyone to pay attention and stay vigilant in protecting their tiny passengers. Temperatures inside a vehicle can soar to 175 degrees under Florida’s blistering sun and a child can experience a debilitating heatstroke or worse within minutes of being left in a vehicle.

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.

In the last four months, 18 children across the country have died from heatstroke after being left alone in cars, including two deaths in Florida. Florida rankss second in the United States for heatstroke deaths. Since 1998, 68 children have died in Florida after being left behind in vehicles. 

In today’s exercise, firefighters from Iona-McGregor Fire & Rescue will use an oversized thermometer inside a car to demonstrate what happens when a child is left unattended or gets trapped in a hot vehicle. Other community partners will be on hand to discuss the roles played by their agency in preventing these situations, including sharing practical tips so you never forget you child in a car. Also, parent advocate, Reggie McKinnon, will share his personal story of losing his daughter, Payton.