Between 1998 and 2009, there were 445 child fatalities involving children left unattended in vehicles, and dying from heat stroke. A group of more than 40 organizations including Safe Kids USA and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is pooling in efforts to ensure that such deaths don’t occur again.
About 50% of the fatalities occurred because a parent left the child in the vehicle, got distracted and forgot about the child. But a third of the fatalities involved an unattended child who gained access into a car and was unable to get out.
There’s one thing that parents and caregivers must understand when it comes to leaving children in closed cars.
Temperatures can quickly rise, especially in the kind of weather that we have now. Very soon, internal temperatures can reach up to 80°. Add to that that the fact that the body chemistry of little babies and small children causes their bodies to heat up five times faster than an adult body does, and you have a recipe for tragedy. Small babies, and even toddlers, may not know how to roll down the window, open the door or otherwise help themselves. They have no idea why they’re feeling as uncomfortable as they are, and by the time their parents return to the vehicle, it may be too late.
Now, a group of more than 40 safety organizations including Alliance of Automobile Manufactures and Safe Kids USA have launched a campaign to check these entirely preventable deaths. They have the following tips for parents and others:
- If you see a child alone in a vehicle, call 911 immediately. You could possibly avert a tragedy.
- Set your cell phone alarm or PDA to prompt you when it’s time to drop your child off at daycare.
- Have an alert on your computer to prod you if you have left your child at daycare.
Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle. Even a few minutes can be enough to cause heatstroke and suffocation.
With summer coming up on us, Houston personal injury lawyers would encourage parents to take extra care about leaving children unattended in vehicles and prevent such a terrible tragedy.