GAINESVILLE - A "Look Before You Lock" Hot Car Demonstration and free car safety seat check were featured in the Gainesville Communiversity parking lot Saturday) on E.E. Butler Parkway.
Volunteers baked S'mores on the dash board of a parked car, where the temperature quickly rose to 114 degrees.
Safe Kids Gainesville-Hall County coordinator Kim Martin said the number of heat stroke deaths of children being unattended in vehicles last year was the worst year on record, and so far this year, there have been 17 deaths nationally, two in Georgia.
"We're just trying to prove a point about hot it gets inside a vehicle," Martin said. "We want to be proactive about children never being left alone in a vehicle not just in the summer time but anytime. The vehicle could be stolen the child could knock it out of gear, it's just unsafe."
Martin added that it is just as unsafe for pets to be left in a locked vehicle during hot weather where temperatures rapidly rise.
Martin, with the help of volunteers from the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids museum, put the S'mores inside the car and a temperature gauge on the hood of the vehicle monitored the outside and inside temperature. The temperature inside rose much quicker than it did outside.
"That batch took about 10 minutes since we moved the tray into the vehicle, it's 114 degrees inside that car right now," Martin said. The chocolate and the marshmallows are now melted." After ten or fifteen minutes inside a hot vehicle a small child would be in serious danger."
The free car safety seat check was held as another reminder to parents of the new child restraint law that went into effect in Georgia on July 1st according to Forsyth County Deputy Sheriff Courtney Spriggs, who is the Safe Kids Coalition Coordinator in her County.
"We're telling them about that and we're educating them about what kind of seat is good for the size of their child," Spriggs said.
Under the new law children must be properly restrained in a child restraint (car seat or booster seat) appropriate for their height and weight in the backseat until they are 8 years of age.
Laney Brewer of Gainesville has four children she wanted to make sure her infant seat was safe.
"I mainly wanted that one to be checked out and I got all of them checked out," she said.
Deputy Spriggs estimated that beween 10 to 12 motorists came in to get their child safety seats checked out during the two hour safety program, with some getting new seats and the training to install them properly.
"We don't want them to run the risk of traveling without a seat," Spriggs said. "That's extremely dangerous."