How does it happen? How does a child get left in a vehicle and die from vehicular heatstroke? It seems unthinkable, but about 38 children each year die in hot cars in the United States. Roughly 800 children have died from vehicular heatstroke since 1998, with 2018 being the worst year for deaths in hot cars in the past 20 years. Fifty-two children died after being left in vehicles during 2018.
How Does It Happen?
According to the NSC (National Safety Council), over one-half (52.8%) of the children who die in hot vehicles are unintentionally forgotten. Just over one-quarter (26.3%) of the children gained access to the vehicle without an adult’s knowledge, and 18.6% of the children were knowingly left in the vehicle.
It is impossible to think that a child could be forgotten, but it does happen. One of the worst things a parent to do is assume it can never happen to them. If every parent assumes they could unintentionally leave their child in a hot car, then they can take steps to ensure that it never happens to them.
Steps You Can Take to Prevent Accident Deaths from Hot Vehicles
There are steps that every parent and caregiver can take to reduce the chance that a child will become trapped or be left in a hot vehicle. It only takes 10 minutes for the temperature in a car to reach 104 degrees when the outside air temperature is 85. In just 20 minutes, the air temperature inside the vehicle can reach 114 degrees.
Some steps you can take to prevent a tragic accident include:
- Always check the entire vehicles upon exiting. Opening the rear doors every time you exit the vehicle ensures no one is left inside.
- After checking your vehicle, always lock the doors so that a child cannot gain access to the vehicle without your knowledge. Store keys to vehicles in a place that is not accessible to children.
- Leave an item on the back seat that you will need when exiting the vehicle, such as a shoe, cell phone, employee ID card, or wallet.
- Place a large teddy bear in your child’s car seat when the child is not there. Buckle the teddy bear into the front seat when your child is riding with you as a reminder your child is in the vehicle.
- Consider installing alarms that alert you to a child’s presence in the back seat when the vehicle is turned off.
- Set the alarm on your cell phone to remind you when you need to drop your child off for daycare, school, or other functions.
You can find additional information and resources online.
Contact an Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorney
If your child is injured this summer, the PBAR legal team can help. Our attorneys will review your case to determine your legal options and explain your child’s legal rights to you. We never want to hear of a child being injured, but we are always available for parents if they need help with a child injury claim.
Contact Poynter & Bucheri to schedule a free consultation with an Indianapolis personal injury attorney in your area by calling 1-800-265-9881 or (317) 780-8000.