The heat and humidity of the warmer months is upon us, and with it comes some silent risks. It’s a habit for many people to leave their children in the car for just a few minutes so they can run errands, a practice that can have deadly consequences.
Last week, a child died in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after prolonged exposure to heat in a car. This was the 11th such U.S. death this year alone. According to the National Safety Council, this is a 275 percent increase over last year, which had four such deaths. (http://abcnews.go.com/US/hot-car-deaths-nearlytriple-year/story?id=39727336)
The eight-month-old-girl in Baton Rouge died after being left in the car for about two hours when temperatures could have reach as high as 130 degrees. Ironically, this death happened on National Child Vehicular Heatstroke Prevention and Awareness Day. Sadly, she was the second child to die of vehicular heatstroke in a 24 hours period. The first death came after a police officer left his infant son in his car in Rome, NY.
According to KidsAndCars.org, a national safety organization, a child’s body overheats three to five times faster than an adult body. Children have died in cars when the outside temperature was as low as 60°, but the sun shining through the windows turned the car into an oven.
According to KidsAndCars.org, on average, a child tragically dies due to heatstroke suffered in a hot vehicle once every nine days. This statistic is staggering.
As part of National Child Vehicular Heatstroke Prevention and Awareness Day on June 8, grieving parents of children who had succumbed to heat stroke in hot cars, sent a letter to Anthony Foxx, secretary of the Department of Transportation and Dr. Mark Rosekind, administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, calling for immediate action on this pervasive problem.
The families insist on adding driver-reminding technology to cars to help prevent parents and caregivers from unintentionally leaving children alone in vehicles. “The worst thing any parent or caregiver can do is think that this could never happen to them or that they are not capable of unknowingly leaving their child behind,” says Janette Fennell, founder and president of KidsAndCars.org. “This can and does happen to the most loving, responsible and attentive parents; no one is immune.”
Since 1990, more than 750 children have died in these preventable tragedies. “We encourage individuals in all communities to take action if you see a child alone in a vehicle. Try to find the driver of the vehicle, call 911 and if the child seems to be in imminent danger, break the window furthest away from the child to rescue them,” stressed Amber Andreasen, director of KidsAndCars.org.
For additional information, statistics and charts specific to child vehicular heat stroke visit http://www.kidsandcars.org/heatstroke-day.html. This tragedy can be prevented.
If you or someone you care about has been injured, contact Rosenberg & Gluck, personal injury attorneys, for a free, confidential legal consultation to learn more about your options.