Avoid Child Hyperthermia: Five Things That Resemble Children Trapped in Cars

Yesterday at New Times we received a humorous incident report from the Broward Sheriff's Office media relations. 

The report stated that someone had reported seeing a toddler locked in a car in Weston. But when an officer arrived, he found: "The report of a toddler in a locked car in Weston is unfounded. It was actually a woman in her 20s taking a nap in her car."

We write this post half in jest because given the extreme heat in Florida, scenarios like this should be taken seriously.

New Times' reporter Michael J. Mooney wrote a feature about child hyperthermia, specifically in Florida. Through his research, he found that "roughly one-sixth of child hyperthermia cases in this country occur in the Sunshine State."

After the jump, we have five more things that could be mistaken for trapped toddlers. But remember, if you see what you think is a child locked in a car, call police.

5. Baby doll

This may seem obvious, but dolls now (and for a long time) have come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. The "My Size Barbie" is a good example. Standing at just over three feet tall, it could easily be mistaken for a toddler, albeit a grossly disproportionate toddler.

4. Midsized duffel bag
Unless your duffel bag is a gold-plated Gucci, you probably don't take care when putting it in your car. One correctly angled toss and it's landing on its end in the back seat. What does that look like? A toddler slumped over.

​3. A dog
Word to the wise: Leaving your windows cracked for your pet while doing some leisurely grocery shopping will not stop the temperature inside from elevating to frightening heights. But a dog that's been trapped for a while might sit, become sluggish, and ultimately take on the same characteristics of a trapped and desperate child.

2. A coat
If you work in any environment that resembles the frigid temperatures of the New Times office, you may carry a coat with you. Throw that in the back seat and you have the arms splayed in different directions and attached to a big ball of mass that can look like a body.

1. A sex doll
We're not kidding. Although we don't advocate removing a sex doll from your private premises, we're sure it could happen in the state that thrives on sexuality. And given that these dolls are meant to look like humans, they could be easily mistaken for a child.

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Devin Desjarlais