Too Many Children Dying in Hot Cars

children dying in hot cars

As the sweltering summer heat envelops Florida, the threat of children dying in hot cars becomes a grim reality. Each year, dozens of young lives are tragically lost due to this preventable danger. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other safety organizations work tirelessly to raise awareness and equip parents, caregivers, and the public with the knowledge to combat this pressing issue. The past few years have seen a record number of hot car deaths, with 53 children dying in hot cars in both 2018 and 2019—the highest in at least 25 years, according to NoHeatstroke.org.

Understanding the Deadly Threat of Hot Cars

Excessive heat results in dozens of children dying in hot cars every year. Even on moderately cool days, the inside of an automobile can reach dangerously high temperatures in just a few minutes, posing a grave risk to a child’s delicate body. A child’s body heats up much faster than an adult’s, making them particularly vulnerable to the devastating effects of heatstroke.

The Rapid Rise in Temperature

A car’s interior can heat up alarmingly fast even with cracked windows. In just 10 minutes, the temperature can soar by 20 degrees, quickly reaching life-threatening levels. This rapid temperature rise occurs regardless of the weather conditions outside, as the car functions as a greenhouse, trapping the heat and amplifying its impact on a child’s fragile system and increasing the number of children dying in hot cars.

Dispelling the Myth of Negligence

Contrary to popular belief, these tragedies are often the result of honest mistakes, not negligence. Parental stress and memory lapses can increase the likelihood of a child being inadvertently left behind, as even the most attentive caregivers can become distracted or experience a change in routine. The range of individuals involved in these incidents is broad, from parents and sitters to social workers, police officers, and members of the armed services.

The “Stop. Look. Lock.” Campaign to Stop Children Dying in Hot Cars

NHTSA’s new “Stop. Look. Lock.” campaign encourages parents and caregivers to make crucial changes to prevent these tragedies. The campaign urges everyone to:

  1. Stop: Make it a habit to open the rear door as you exit the vehicle, ensuring a visual cue that a child is present.
  2. Look: Place an item you need, such as a mobile phone or computer bag, in the backseat as a reminder to check for your child before leaving the car.
  3. Lock: Ensure your vehicle is locked at all times, even when not in use, to prevent children from gaining access and becoming trapped.

Leveraging Technology

Some newer vehicles now come equipped with back-seat reminder technology, which can alert drivers to check for the presence of a child before exiting the car. This innovative feature can serve as an additional safeguard against forgetfulness.

The NHTSA emphasizes the importance of community involvement to prevent children dying in hot cars. If someone sees a child alone in a hot vehicle, they should immediately call 911 and take action to avert children dying in hot cars.

Addressing the Legal Landscape

In Florida, leaving a child unattended in a vehicle is a criminal offense, underscoring the gravity of the issue. However, the consequences for parents or caregivers involved in such incidents can pale in comparison to the immeasurable emotional toll and lifelong trauma they must bear.

Personal injury law firms, such as the Martinez Manglardi Personal Injury Law Firm in Orlando, play a crucial role in advocating for child safety and raising awareness within the community.
Call 407-846-2240 for a free consultation with an Orlando car accident attorney at the Martinez Manglardi personal injury law firm. We have convenient locations throughout Central Florida.

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