According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 2018 was the deadliest year on record for the past 20 years for children dying in hot cars. In the United States, 52 children died because they were inside hot vehicles. Sadly, approximately 800 children have died as a result of vehicular heatstroke since 1998. As the summer temperatures continue to rise, it is important for parents and caregivers to take steps to prevent a tragedy.
Why Are Children Left in Vehicles?
Vehicular heatstroke can occur very quickly. The temperature in a vehicle rises to life-threatening levels, even on a mild day. Over one-half of children who die after being left in hot vehicles were left in the vehicle unintentionally. A caregiver or parent “forgot” the child was in the vehicle. Just over one-quarter of the deaths occurred because children gained access to the vehicle without an adult’s knowledge. Sadly, just over 18 percent of children were knowingly left in the vehicle and died from the hot temperatures inside the vehicle.
What Can You Do to Prevent a Tragic Death?
The NSC provides several tips that can help parents and caregivers avoid leaving a child in a vehicle:
- Avoid distractions and develop a routine that helps you to remember to check your vehicle each time you exit.
- Put your wallet, shoe, keys, purse, or other item in the back seat with your child to help you remember to look in the back seat.
- Please a teddy bear or other stuffed animal in the front seat to remind you that there is a child in the back seat.
- Make it a habit to open the back door each time you exit the vehicle.
- Set the alarm on your cell phone that goes off at the time you are to drop your child off at school or daycare each day.
- Make sure that the daycare or caregiver knows to call you if your child is not dropped off at the designated time.
- Invest in alert systems and other technology that tells you if there is a child in the back seat.
- Always check all seats in your vehicle and lock your vehicle each time you exit to prevent a child from becoming trapped in the vehicle without your knowledge.
Routines and reminders can help prevent “forgotten baby syndrome.” It is easy to become distracted. The worst thing you can do is assume it could never happen to you. Make it a habit to check your vehicle every time you exit. If you force yourself into the habit of checking, regardless of whether your child is in the vehicle, you reduce the risk of forgetting your child is in the back seat. In addition, use one or more of the reminders (i.e. something in the back seat) to ensure you check before exiting the vehicle.
New Orleans Personal Injury Attorneys
If you are injured in a car accident, contact Attorney Fred Olinde of The Olinde Firm to schedule a free legal consultation with a NOLA car accident attorney by calling (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889.