The summer is officially less than two weeks away and yet there have already been at least nine children who have died after being left alone in a hot car. If you follow the trends set in recent years past, that number is surely to rise, according to the National Safety Council.
Since 1998, according to research by San Francisco State University’s Department of Geosciences, there have been an estimated 615 heatstroke deaths suffered by children left in hot cars. That’s an average of 38 deaths per year, with more than half of the children dying under age two. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related fatalities for kids under 14.
While it’s difficult to believe this type of injury happens so frequently, it’s generally due to simple negligence – not purposeful action. Often, parents don’t believe it’s hot enough to cause any harm. Other times, the parent forgets the child is in the car with them because they are in a rush. Still, sometimes children climb into the car and get overwhelmed by the heat and can’t get out. According to San Francisco State University’s findings, 52 percent of the time, the parent forgot the child in the car; 29 percent of the time the child was playing in the vehicle unattended and 18 percent of the time, the child was purposely left there.
Here are some things for parents to keep in mind when regarding leaving their kids in cars during the summer:
- Your car becomes an oven: If you’ve ever parked your car on a hot day, you know how scorching it can get inside in just 10 or 20 minutes. What you may not know is that it doesn’t have to be 90 degrees outside to turn your car into a death trap, 75 degrees can do just as much damage.
- Leave something in the backseat: It may sound unbelievable that a good parent would actually leave their kid in a car, but stats don’t lie and children sometimes sleep quietly. To help avoid the same mistake, leave your purse, brief case or something of value in the back, so you have to open the backdoor.
- Keep your keys out of reach and your doors locked: Kids can be sneaky and curious. If you leave your doors open and your keys out, there’s a chance they may want to play in the car. This can be very dangerous on a hot day, especially if you are unaware of it happening.
The last thing any parent wants is to be charged with the manslaughter of their own child because of negligence. Make sure you look before you lock, and don’t leave your precious cargo inside your car this summer.
The personal injury attorneys at team law have distinguished track records in personal injury and wrongful death suits. If you or someone you know has been injured through someone’s negligence, contact us today.