Heatstroke in vehicles is the leading cause of all non-crash related fatalities involving children 14-years-old and younger. Especially vulnerable are children under the age of four because their bodies overheat more quickly. Florida ranks fourth in the United States in the number of hyperthermia deaths caused by children left in vehicles.
On December 11, 2011, the Broward County Commission approved an amendment to the Transportation Sections of current County Ordinances governing Licensed and Registered Child Care Facilities and Family Child Care Homes, effective July 1, 2013. This amendment requires that:
- All vehicles designed to transport six (6) or more passengers and one (1) driver must have a child safety alarm device installed
- An alarm device must be designed so that the vehicle horn, siren or other type of audible alarm will sound within one minute if the driver or staff member does not go to the rear or back seat of the vehicle, or, in the case of a passenger van, does not open the side entry door of the vehicle, to manually shut off the alarm prior to leaving the vehicle.
- The alarm must be audible from a distance of 500 feet from the vehicle
The Broward County Commission, Children’s Services Council of Broward County and the Early Learning Coalition of Broward County, in an collaborative partnership, launched the “Look before You Lock” campaign aimed at ensuring that no children die or are injured as a result of being left in a hot vehicle.
A one- time only reimbursement fund has been set aside to offset the cost of the installation(s) for qualified child care providers. To be eligible for the reimbursement, the purchase and installation of the alarm must occur or have occurred between December 11, 2012 and June 30, 2013.
For additional information on the Vehicle Alarm Ordinance and the “Look Before You Lock” campaign, call Broward County Child Care Licensing and Enforcement Section at 954-357-4800.