Keeping babies safe is of prime importance to Gulliver Prep senior Kelly Ann Cosentino. She has her own non-profit organization called BabyHeatStroke and runs the BabyHeatStroke.org website.
BabyHeatStroke is the community service project she cited for her successful Silver Knight application. She is the Gulliver Silver Knight nominee in Drama.
“I started it when I was going into eighth grade,” she says. “I was interviewing government officials. I was asking them what they think about children left in the backseat of the car.”
Cosentino says there have been 48 deaths from children left in cars this year – five of those deaths were in Florida.
“Florida is the second worst state,” she says. “South Carolina is actually number one. Last year, Texas was number one.”
Cosentino has spoken with public officials about the problem of children being left in hot cars. Former Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado worked with Cosentino to get billboards put up in the state to warn motorists to remember to take their children out of the car.
One billboard was put up in Ft. Myers and another was place in Coral Gables.
“For non-profits, they will do it for free,” she says.
She started her campaign to save babies after her parents told her about a child who had been accidently left in the car while his parents went to services. They came back to find the child in distress, with bite marks all over his arms.
She quickly began the website and posted blogs about the problem.
“So many children have died,” she says. “This usually happens when the babies are sleeping. It’s so easy to forget.”
In fact, it happened to her for just a few seconds when she was little. Her father walked away without her but immediately came back.
Cosentino spoke to Miami Dade Public School about creating a curriculum to teach students about the problem and how to prevent tragedies. The curriculum was approved by Miami-Dade Public Schools. This curriculum was co-written with the Dean of Gulliver Schools. She’s conducted a couple of seminars using the baby heat stroke curriculum and playing a video of her interview with the Miami fire chief.
This past summer, she spoke to a state senator about a Baby Heat Stroke bill that would strengthen legislation on child safety.
There is already a Good Samaritan law but she wants to insert stronger language that gives a Good Samaritan permission to break a car window if someone believes that the child is in a life-threatening situation.
She plans to continue her efforts to save the babies while she’s in college and she plans to expand her efforts to Jamaica.
At Gulliver, Cosentino is president of the Spanish National Honor Society.
The club recently held a drive to collect medicines to be sent for children in Venezuela.
Cosentino takes conservatory music where she sings in the Vocal Ensemble as Soprano 1. She is also a Co-President/Head of the Gulliver Music Club.
She is working on a play about baby heat stroke called Will I See You Later? for her Drama IB HL class.
“It’s an enactment of a child left in the car,” she says. “It’s a collaborative project.”
When Cosentino goes to the college of her choice next year, she’ll be majoring in the Classics, Humanities and Music/Opera.
Cosentino is a second-degree black belt in taekwondo. She’s been taking taekwondo since she was eight or nine.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld