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U.S. on Record Pace for Hot-Car Deaths

Tuesday, October 10, 2017By Nina Shapirshteyn

With the heat waves that many U.S. states have experienced this year, it is even more important to be informed about the dangers of heatstroke deaths from children in cars. According to the National Highway Transportation Association, 29 heatstroke deaths have occurred in 2017 as of July 31st putting the U.S. on pace for a record number of vehicular heatstroke deaths this year.  

Vehicular heatstroke is entirely preventable. While many people associate heatstroke with parents intentionally leaving their child in a locked, hot car, many vehicular heatstroke deaths are completely unintentional. In fact, between 1998 and 2016, the majority of heatstroke deaths occurred when a child gained access to a vehicle while unsupervised or was mistakenly left in the car by a distracted parent.

Heatstroke death happens very quickly. When hot outside, the interior of a car can heat up by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. The inside of a vehicle can reach 110 degrees even on a mild day. A body temperature of 107 degrees will kill a child.

Over 700 children in the U.S. have died from vehicular heatstroke since 1998. Since a majority of these deaths are a result of distraction or inattention, everyone needs to be hypervigilant to prevent these tragedies. Here are some important tips to keep your children safe.

  • Always check the back seats of your vehicle before locking it and leaving. In this age of multitasking, there are times when parents may simply be distracted and not pay attention to their surroundings, thereby inadvertently leaving a child in the car. Get in a habit of thinking of your child when you lock your car doors to have that reminder to check the car.
  • Put your phone, purse, or briefcase in the backseat to make sure you check the backseat before leaving the car for the day.
  • If you frequently drive without your child in the car, consider keeping a reminder in the front seat when your child is with you. A stuffed animal or toy belonging to your child could be placed in the front seat as a visual reminder that your child is with you.
  • Keep your vehicle locked and your keys out of reach of children. Many heatstroke deaths have occurred when unattended children gain access to a car. Even when a car is parked inside a garage, the temperatures can rise to lethal levels for a child trapped inside.
  • Finally, if you see a child alone in a car, call for help immediately. Even minutes can save a child’s life.

The San Francisco attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP represent people who have been injured by the negligence of others. Our goal is to help our clients and their families receive proper compensation for their pain and suffering. You can reach one of our California personal injury attorneys at 888.777.1776, or you can contact us online.

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