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Locksmith company reports rescuing 8,000 children from hot cars; Florida day care vehicles now using alert systems

"Me personally, in the past, countless," Pop-A-Lock's Sidney Golphin said about the number of times he's had to rescue a child from a locked vehicle.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — It's getting hot in Florida, and for one Jacksonville company, that means their work can turn into a matter of life and death.

Officials with the company Pop-A-Lock, which you may know if you've ever locked your keys in a car, say they saved almost 8,000 children in the U.S. who were accidentally locked in vehicles last year.

On average, 38 children die every year in the U.S. from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle, according to the National Safety Council. This is entirely preventable, and this is the first year of a new Florida law to help.

"When we get there, of course the parents, they're all scared, and they're frantic, and they're worried," said Sidney Golphin, Jacksonville area manager for Pop-A-Lock. "But when we get there, we rescue them pretty quickly and get them out of the vehicles."

The number of times Golphin says he's had to rescue kids out of locked vehicles may be higher than you'd expect.

"Me personally, in the past, countless," he said. "I can't even count how many times I've had to do it."

In the demonstration another worker gave First Coast News, it took less than one minute for them to unlock a car. But 13% of deaths reportedly involve a child left by a day care provider. Because of a new Florida law, this year all vehicles used by day cares must have an alarm system that reminds the driver to check for a child who could have been left behind.

Workers at Kids At Play, located at the Beaches, showed First Coast News how the alarm system works.

"We turned the van off, that door had already let that sensor know that there are kids in the back of this car," explained Monique Ansonia, a Kids At Play driver. 

The driver then has to walk to the back of the van to press a button that makes the device stop beeping.

"So once I turned it off, you hear that beep. It makes us walk through, check the seats, make sure there's nobody left," Ansonia said.

Florida is only second to Texas in hot car deaths, according to the nonprofit website kidsandcars.org.

"I can see where you have large buses or other larger vans like this, and you would have to go back in the rows," said Ansonia. "Some kids aren't paying attention. They're playing in their backpacks."

"Or they fall asleep after school," added Kids At Play's Rachael Wyman.

If this happens more often than you might think, these folks hope it's something you think about more often too.

The temperature inside a car can rise about 20 degrees in 10 minutes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports.

There are car seat alarms you can buy for your own car.


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