Children Left in Hot Cars

Submitted by jrlaw on Oct 1st, 2013

When it comes to our kids, we often focus on safety measures like using car seats correctly and basic childproofing, but there are many other hidden dangers that may put your kids at risk.

The vehicles in which your kids ride are one of these dangers, and it is not just because of car accidents. Being left in a car on a hot summer day can be just as deadly. In fact, on average, 25 children die each year after being left in a hot car (sometimes on relatively mild days with only 70 degree temperatures) and many more survive with serious dehydration or other injury. More than 600 children in the U.S. children have suffered this fate since 1990.

Most parents and family members wouldn't even think about leaving a child in a car unattended for any length of time, but think about who else might be transporting your children - daycare, to and from school, or special events for example. With dozens of children on a bus or van, it's not hard to miss one, as shown by the fact that it still happens every year.

What's the Danger?

In addition to it being illegal (Sec. 22.10), as well as the the risk of abduction, on a typical summer day the temperature inside a car (even with the windows rolled down a little) can quickly rise above 120 to 140 degrees. Even on a relatively mild day, the temperature inside a car can easily get above 100 degrees due to a greenhouse-like effect. At those temperatures, kids are at great risk for heat stroke, which can lead to a high fever, dehydration, seizures, stroke and death.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "a car sitting in the summer sun quickly turns into an oven," and "temperatures can climb from 78 degrees to 100 degrees in just three minutes, to 125 degrees in 6-8 minutes."

At Rasansky Law Firm, we encourage you to get involved and call 911 immediately if you witness a child left in an unattended vehicle. If the child is in distress due to the heat, it is important to get them out as soon as possible. I encourage to bring up the topic with friends and family. If we continue to raise awareness, we can make a difference.