Dangers of Leaving Children in Hot Cars

If you are a parent, there is a good chance that you’ve driven your child around before, and while you were running errands, your child fell asleep in their car seat. When you arrived home, you thought about shutting off the engine, cracking the windows, and leaving your child in the driveway or garage sleeping in the car until they woke up. If these thoughts have run through your mind – you have plenty of company. Almost every parent goes through this thought process at least once, if not dozens of times.

While your parents may have left you and your siblings in the car on one or more occasions, and all of you survived, please know that it wasn’t safe back then and it’s not safe now. According to Seattle Children’s Hospital, “About 38 children in the United States die from heat stroke each year after being trapped in a car.” Most of these deaths are tragic accidents, while others are made to look like accidents.

Why Are Cars So Dangerous?

While a toddler may be able to accidentally put the car in “drive” or “reverse,” or a sinister individual may be able to kidnap a child sitting alone in a car, the biggest threat is hyperthermia, otherwise known as “heat stroke.” Heat stroke can be deadly; it can not only damage the brain and internal organs, it can lead to death.

According to Seattle Children’s Hospital:

  • In just 10 minutes, the temperature inside a car can increase by 20 degrees.
  • Within one hour, the temperature inside a car can increase by 40 degrees.
  • Children have died at temperatures slightly above 70 degrees.
  • It can be a “nice” day and it can still be hot enough for children to die inside a car.
  • Even if you crack the windows, it doesn’t make the temperature inside a vehicle safe for a child.
  • Children’s bodies heat up “three to five times faster” than adults.
  • Unlike adults, children’s bodies have not developed the ability to cool themselves down effectively.
  • The majority of children who have died after being left in a hot car were under the age of 3; however, children as old as 14 have died in hot cars.

What can you do to protect your children from heat stroke? NEVER leave them alone in a vehicle, even if it’s parked outside of your house, or in a parking lot where you’re steps away! You may think that there’s no way you’d forget your child in the back, but unfortunately too many parents have made this deadly mistake.

If your baby kept you up all night, or if you have a chaotic schedule, or if you get a phone call, you can forget all about your child in the vehicle, especially if they’re quietly sleeping. So, in the case of a sleeping child, it’s better to risk waking them up rather than risking their life.

If you need a Columbia personal injury attorney, don’t hesitate to contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC for a free consultation.

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