Even though summer is a thing of the past, we still think it is important to discuss the dangers of leaving kids in a hot car, and why this seems to be happening more than ever before. This past summer statistics showed that there was an increase in incidents with children being left in hot vehicles. The majority of these cases occurred when a child was being transported out of their routine, often by the parent who did not usually take them to daycare or look after them during the day. Unfortunately, many parents and child caregivers do not understand the hidden dangers of family cars. While these vehicles are in place to get us safely to and from home, work, and other places, they can also be deadly during the hot summer months. Since 1990, more than 750 children have died after being left in a hot car.
The scariest statistic we have found related to children dying in hot vehicles is that, on average, a child dies due to heatstroke as a result of being left in a hot vehicle once every nine days. This is absolutely unbelievable and shows just how serious of a problem this is right now in the United States. Parents often get in the routine of leaving their children in the car for a few minutes so they can run errands in peace. This practice in itself is dangerous, especially during the hot summer months. Many parents tell themselves “oh, they will be fine, I will just run into the store for a few minutes then be back”. However, there is a huge risk that the parent will become distracted and forget their child is in the car, leaving them in there for much longer than the few minutes they originally intended.
How Hot is Too Hot?
According to KidsAndCars.org, a child’s body has the potential to overheat three to five times quicker than an adult body. This is one of the main reasons why it is so dangerous for kids to be left in the car during the summer for any amount of time. While an adult may be OK sitting in a hot car for 5 minutes, this could be deadly for children. Many people mistakenly believe that the temperature has to be in the high 80s or 90s for it to be unsafe for children, but this is inaccurate. In fact, children have died in cars when the temperature was as low as 60 degrees. When the sun is shining through the windows of a car, it can create an oven-like scenario that is incredibly dangerous for children, and dogs, for that matter.
Let’s now look at a few important statistics surrounding kids being left in hot cars:
- The total number of U.S. heatstroke deaths due to children left in hot cars in 2016 was 38
- This is up from 24 deaths in 2015
- In 53% of all deaths, the child was forgotten in the car
- In 29% of all deaths, the child was playing unattended inside the car without the parent or guardian knowing
- In 17% of all deaths, the child was intentionally left inside the car while the parent or guardian ran an errand
If you see a child left in a hot car – regardless of the time of year – it is important that you dial 911 right away. As the statistics indicate, we are seeing more and more of these cases take place, which is disconcerting to say the least. Just because the summer months are gone doesn’t mean temperatures aren’t still dangerous to children when left in vehicles. To discuss your specific case with one of our Dallas personal injury attorneys, please contact Rad Law Firm today.