LAKELAND, Fla. — What if there was a way to prevent children from dying in hot cars? Well, one Lakeland grandfather says his grand kids inspired him to create a visual reminder to do just that.
Forty-two children died in hot cars across the nation so far this year. Four of those were in Florida.
Scott Headley, a grandfather of five with another on way, says “Child Check Bracelets” will help eliminate those deaths. The bracelets, which are neon yellow with red writing, are hard to miss. They read “STOP, LOOK & LISTEN. CHILD CHECK.” It’s designed to remind parents to check the back seat.
“You take the bracelet from the seat like I’ve done here. And then the idea is that since you’re not used to seeing this and wearing this, the feel of it and looks of it will remind you, you have precious cargo on board.” Headley said.
The idea has taken off. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Lakeland Police Department, Safe Kids Florida Suncoast and private businesses in Lakeland have joined forces in order to spread the message of checking your backseat.
“Every year too many kids die of heatstroke because they were left inside a car — often by accident. Our message is simple: Check your back seat: ‘stop, look, and listen.’ Let’s keep our kids safe!” Grady Judd, the Polk County Sheriff said.
The bracelets are free and will be available for the first time on October 4 at First Friday in Downton Lakeland from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Partners will have displays set up and provide giveaways, including the bracelets. There will also be activities for children and representatives with live demonstrations to show how hot it can get inside of a car in a short amount of time.
T-shirts will also be on sale for $10. Proceeds go toward purchasing car seats for those in need.
If you’d like a bracelet or would like to get involved contact Scott Headley at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 863-701-7411.