Officials are warning residents about the dangers of leaving children unattended in hot cars. A metro Atlanta parent talked about the heartbreak of losing her child to heat and a closed car.
On Friday, state agencies demonstrated that even with a moderate temperature, heat can build rapidly in a closed vehicle, pushing past 140 degrees on a spring Friday.
Parent Jenny Stanley knows that all too well. Her 6-year-old daughter, Sydney, died after getting in the family's unlocked car, apparently to retrieve a Sunday school craft.
Sydney's parents thought she was playing nearby with a friend.
"My hope is that it never happened to another parent. If I could save one child, what I've spoken today is worth it," said Jenny Stanley.
Officials gathered outside the state Capitol to call attention to the danger as warm weather approaches.
"The child will heat up three to five times faster than an adult. They simply don't have the ability to tolerate heat," Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald of the Georgia Department of Public Health
A year ago, the state strengthened regulations and penalties for child care providers after a 2-year-old girl was left in a daycare center van.
"With 20 children having died in the state since 1998 in hot vehicles, I think that all we can do as an agency is extend the maximum fine and take the most serious action possible. That's what we intend to do," said Bobby Cagle of the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.
Authorities said they wanted to make three points: never leave a child in a vehicle unattended. Always lock your car and put the keys out of reach, and call 911 if you see a child left in a car.
The state last year told more than 6,000 daycare facilities they could face first-time maximum fines for violating procedures in transporting children.
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