Published On: Fri, Jun 29th, 2018

Florida Protects Good Samaritans Who Bust Children & Pets Out Of Hot Cars

By Robert S Weinroth

Summer is here — and South Florida’s summer heat must be respected.

With the hot temperatures, pet owners and parents are reminded that children and pets cannot be left outside or in hot cars for too long. The enclosed space of a vehicle in the sun (even with the windows cracked open) can quickly become unbearable.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the temperture in a car can rise 20 degrees within 10 minutes. So if it’s 80 degrees outside the temp inside a car could be at 100 degrees within 10 minutes. That can cause a heat stroke and prove fatal.

Every summer, the news is replete with heartbreaking stories of children and pets succumbing to the heat.

The CDC reports that heat-related illness happens when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. Children under age four are at greatest risk.

Heat-related illnesses are preventable.

Move the person to a cooler place and help lower the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath, the CDC says. If a person is suffering from heat stroke, do not give them anything to drink. If they are suffering from heat exhaustion, they should sip water.

Symptoms of heat stroke for pets include excessive panting, discolored gums and mobility problems. Pet owners should seek veterinary attention immediately should their pet suffer from these symptoms.

In Florida, the law protects a Good Samaritan who sees a child or pet in distress in a locked vehicle. The law, provides the rescuer from civil liability for damage the vehicle endures in the course of the rescue. (This immunity applies to the rescue of all “vulnerable persons,” including children as well as adults with mental or physical impairments.)

Ways you can prevent a tragedy from occurring:

  1. It’s easy to become distracted when busy —  put your phone away until you get from one destination to the next after dropping off your child.
  2. Make it a habit to look in the back seat regardless if you transport your child that day or not. Schedules change and so do routines.
  3. Use a stuffed animal as a reminder, put it in the car seat and when you have a child in the car seat put the stuff animal in the front with you.
  4. Put your purse or brief case in the back seat next to your child.
  5. Never leave children or pets in the car even if you’re running in the store for a few seconds. It’s just not worth the convenience it may seem to be.


About the Author

- Robert Weinroth is a 27 year resident of Boca Raton where he is an attorney, businessman, former member of the City Council (where he served for four years) and currently serves as an elected member of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Weinroth went to Boston’s Northeastern University where he earned a BSBA in Management. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor at New England School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Weinroth served as president and general counsel of Freedom Medical Services Inc, an accredited medical supply company in Boca Raton. FREEDOMED® represented the realization of an entrepreneurial dream. Weinroth, and his wife Pamela operated the company for 16 years, eventually selling the business in 2016. Weinroth takes great pride in his past work as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for the 15th Judicial Circuit, advocating for the needs of abused and neglected children deemed dependent by the Court. After serving on multiple community boards and committees, Weinroth was elected to the Boca Raton City Council in 2014. During his tenure, he served as CRA Vice-chair and Deputy Mayor and was appointed to a number of county boards including the Boca Raton Airport Authority, the Palm Tran Service Board, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, the Treasure Coast Planning Council and was elected a board member of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. As a newly elected County Commissioner, Weinroth has been appointed Vice-Chair of the Solid Waste Authority, a board member of the PBC Transportation Planning Agency, and alternate representative on the Treasure Coast Planning Agency and several other county and regional boards. Robert, Pamela and their two dogs, Sierra and Siggy, are proud to call Boca Raton home.

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