MIAMI (CBS4) – It’s every parent’s nightmare and it’s happening in more and more – children dying after accidentally being left unattended in hot cars.

“You’re busy, you’re running in and out of the grocery store, you run inside the drug store you run in and out of work, daycares, there’s picking them up, dropping them off, takes two seconds before you forget, ‘Did I forget anybody’,” said Fred Hicks, a father of four, who described the average day in the life of a parent.

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According to a study by the San Francisco State University, since 1998 at least 500 children have died nationwide from being left in hot vehicles. Florida has the second highest number of this type of death in that time period with 56, Texas was number one with 71 deaths.

Now a local non-profit organization is hoping that a simple phrase will help save lives.

The Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties have launched the “Look Before You Lock” campaign to help busy parents remember to look in the passenger and back seats of their vehicles before they lock their car doors.

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“We’ve had a lot of cases, unfortunately, particularly in South Florida where it gets so hot so quickly, and parents forget their kids in the car and we have cases where children have perished as a result,” Evelio Torres, the CEO Early Learning Coalition, explained to CBS4’s Nicole Maristany.

The temperature inside an enclosed vehicle can rise nearly 20 degrees in 10 minutes, according to the study, and nearly 43 degrees in an hour. In 2010, 49 children died of hyperthermia nationwide after being left in hot vehicles, six of those deaths were in Florida. In comparison, 33 children died of hyperthermia in 2009 after being left unattended in vehicles, eight of those deaths were in Florida.

“We have great reminders for parents, we have the window screens, we have the little tag that you place on your rear view mirror,” said Torres.

Little reminders that have the power to save lives.

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For free window shades and rear view mirror hang tag which reminds you to “Look Before You Lock” give Neighbors 4 Neighbors a call at (305) 597-4404.