As the temperatures soar, so do the number of deaths of children left in hot cars.
While some parents say they'd never, Tampa firefighters say it happens all the time.
"I don't know of anyone who hasn't had to respond to something like this," Tampa Fire Rescue's Lt. Jeremy Finney said Wednesday.
Finney says the offenders aren't always bad parents.
"It's as simple as something like a change in your routine. You're not used to having your kid in your backseat because it's summertime. You're used to having them at school," he said.
The statistics are staggering: 44 children died in hot cars just last year.
Earlier this month, little Alejandra Hernandez died after police say her dad forgot her in the car outside his Sarasota home. Her body temperature was 106 degrees by the time she got to the hospital.
She's one of 13 heatstroke-related deaths of kids left in cars nationwide since April.
Jean Shoemaker of All Children's Hospital's Safe Kids program says there are even more close calls.
"Just here in Pinellas County, over a year's period of time, there have already been over 100 calls of kids being left in vehicles," Shoemaker said.
Now, first responders are calling on the public to help.
"See something, say something. That's true with really any emergency," Finney said.
He says those mere moments could mean the difference between life and death.
"Seconds count," Finney added.
Experts recommend parents use different tools to remind themselves when kids are traveling in the backseat. Shoemaker recommends placing your cell phone or purse next to child, or leaving a teddy bear in the car seat and moving it to the front seat when kids are coming along for the ride.
For more information on child safety, visit www.allkids.org/safekids.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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