15-Year-Old Starts Campaign Dedicated to Ending Scourge of Children Dying in Hot Cars
Dedicated to eradicating "infant dies in hot car" headlines, a Florida teen has immersed herself in an effort to remind parents not to forget their little ones in the back seat.
Kelly Ann Cosentino, a 15-year-old student at Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami, began her initiative to educate people on the dangers of child heatstroke last summer after she noticed the rise of babies dying after being left in hot vehicles.
She now hands out hang tags parents can put on their rear view mirrors with the words “Look before you lock.”
Cosentino said she has been struck by too many reports of kids left to die in cars left in scorching temperatures, usually by a parent or caregiver.
“There are so many children dying and being left in the back seat," she said.
Cosentino wrote on her blog about her creation of the hang tags.
“One day, while I was reading about the children, I got an idea. I saw a handicap "hanger" and it was very noticeable. So, [I thought] why not print up my own hangers?
Cosentino went to a sauna that summer to test out what it would feel like. She said she asked that it be turned up to 160 degrees. At that temperature, she didn’t last long.
“Imagine babies who are so much more vulnerable than this and their little organs could shut down,” she said.
She also put together a website, babyheatstroke.org, which features statistics and articles.
Just this week in Oklahoma, a 4-month old baby died after she was forgotten in a car for more than nine hours.
Thus far in 2016, 32 children have died from heatstroke in cars. Last year, the number totaled 24, while 693 babies have died in total since 1998, according to statistics from NoHeatstroke.org.
Certain states, like Tennessee, have now passed laws protecting people from legal liability for breaking into cars and rescuing kids they feel are at risk of heatstroke.
But the law requires those individuals to call 911 first and follow instructions.
Other states have laws that require hospitals to sit with parents of newborns prior to hospital release to go over the danger of vehicular heatstroke.
In August, Cosentino said she came across a dog locked inside a car in 90-degree weather and called the police. She said she couldn't imagine a situation where it had been a child.