The stories are heartbreaking. A parent or caregiver left a child in a vehicle by accident, or a child was able to get into a car without a parent’s knowledge. The heat in the car quickly rises, which can cause the death of the child. Hot car deaths throughout the United States are a serious matter that needs to be discussed and addressed.
How Many Children Die in Hot Vehicles Each Year?
Approximately 38 children died each year in hot vehicles in the U.S. In 2018, 52 children lost their lives in hot vehicles, the highest number of deaths on record in the past 20 years. It is estimated that 800 children have died since 1998 from being left in or trapped in vehicles.
Over one-half of the children who die from vehicular heatstroke are forgotten by their parents or caregivers. They are left in the vehicle unintentionally. Slightly more than a quarter of the deaths result from a child gaining access to a vehicle.
It does not take long for the temperature inside a parked vehicle to increase to deadly levels. Even vehicles parked in shaded areas with the windows cracked can still become too hot for a child to survive. In just 10 minutes, the temperature in a motor vehicle can increase to 104 degrees when it is 85 degrees outside. In another 10 minutes, the temperature in the vehicle increases to 114 degrees. When the temperatures outside reach 90 degrees, it takes just 10 minutes for the temperature in the vehicle to reach 109 degrees.
What Can You Do to Prevent Vehicular Heatstroke?
If you see a child locked in a vehicle or trapped in a vehicle, call 911 and follow the instructions provided by the emergency operator.
As a driver and caregiver, you can take steps to ensure you do not forget when a child is in your vehicle. Some tips for avoiding hot car fatalities include:
- Keep a large stuffed animal or doll in your child’s car seat or back seat. When a child is in the rear seat, place the stuffed animal or doll beside you in the front seat as a reminder.
- Remove your shoe and leave it in the back seat. You can also leave keys, cell phones, wallets, bags, and other items you will need when exiting the vehicle.
- Make it a habit to open the back doors and check for passengers for locking the vehicle.
- Always lock your vehicle so children cannot gain access while you. Store your car keys where children cannot locate or get the keys.
- Use technology to prevent hot car deaths.
- Set the alarm on your cell phone for the time your child should reach school, daycare, or other activities. The alarm reminds you to double check to ensure that you did not leave your child in the vehicle by accident.
One of the most serious mistakes you can make is to believe that this could never happen to you. All adults need to be aware of the risk of vehicular heatstroke and take steps to reduce the chance a child will die in a hot car.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Sacramento County
If you need help with an injury claim or you have questions about a personal injury case, schedule a free consultation with a Sacramento personal injury attorney by calling The Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000.