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Safety Advocates Launch Petition Drive To Prevent Child Deaths In Hot Cars

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Florida ranks second behind Texas in the number of children who have died of heat stroke from being left in a hot car.  California, Arizona and North Carolina rank third, fourth and fifth, respectively, according to safety website KidsAndCars.org.

Jacksonville’s latest case of a child alone in a hot vehicle involves a 7-year-old boy whose father allegedly left him in a car outside a furniture store where he worked.  The man faces child neglect charges.

KidsAndCars.org Director Amber Rollins says simply reminding adults not to leave their kids in hot cars is understandably ineffective.

“We don’t have parents out there that are trying to prevent this from happening," she said.  "Nobody thinks this could ever happen to them."

"In a million years they would never, ever ever leave their child behind.  It’s not that people are bad parents, it’s just that they can’t understand how this could possibly happen to a loving, responsible, educated person.”

Which is why, Rollins says, KidsAndCars.org launched a We The People petition drive on the White House website Monday.

The Missouri-based nonprofit wants President Obama and the U.S. Transportation Department to support the development of technology that will prevent any more children from dying in hot cars, and to make it required in all vehicles and child safety seats.

The group’s goal is to collect 100,000 signatures by August 12.

KidsAndCars.org works to prevent child injuries and deaths in and around motor vehicles. It's list of successful safety initiatives includes the requirement that all vehicles have trunk release latches to prevent children from becoming trapped, safer power window switches to keep children from being strangled and brake-transmission shift interlock systems to make sure children can't accidentally knock a vehicle into gear.

You can find the petition at whitehouse.gov.

You can follow Cyd Hoskinson on Twitter @cydwjctnews.