Deathly Consequences of Children Left Behind in Cars

Attorneys and Civil Personal Injury Claims in RI and MA

8 child deaths in the U.S. have resulted so far in 2015 when children were left unattended in cars and suffered from heatstroke. In the year 2014, there were 31 heatstroke deaths of children in cars, and since 1998, 645 heatstroke deaths of children in cars.

Causes of Heatstroke Deaths in Kids

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), kids are stuck in hot cars during the summer months because:

  • 53% of the time because the caregiver has forgotten about them.
  • 29% of the time because the child is playing in or around an unattended vehicle and locks the vehicle without a way of getting out.
  • In some cases children are intentionally left behind in the car.

High Temperatures Can Kill

Most parents do not realize that even leaving their kids in a hot car for a few minutes can potentially be life threatening. In as little as 10 minutes a car can heat up by 20 degrees. Rolling down a window does little to help keep it cool. Heatstroke fatalities have even taken place when cars are parked in shaded areas, and when the air temperature is less than 80 degrees. According to WebMD, this is because the temperature inside the car heats up about 30 to 40 degrees above the outside temperature. Heatstroke will begin to set in once the child’s body temperature has reached 104 degrees, and any core temperature reaching 107 degrees is considered lethal.

Spot the Signs of Heatstroke

Symptoms of heatstroke that are easy to spot include:

  • Red, hot, and moist or dry skin
  • No sweating
  • Strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Being grouchy or acting strangely

Rhode Island and Massachusetts Child Passenger Protection Laws

Rhode Island is one of only 20 U.S. states with a law prohibiting young children left behind in hot cars. Yet even Rhode Island’s law only requires a warning to offenders. RI officers are authorized to provide a verbal warning to any person leaving a child, under age 7, unattended in a motor vehicle. There is no fine and no record of such warning.

Massachusetts has no law generally addressing children left unattended in cars. Regulations directed to child care providers prohibit leaving a child of any age alone in a vehicle. However, these regulations do not apply to children outside of the child care provider setting.

Civil personal injury claims in RI and MA can help both recover for the unfortunate injuries that result when negligent behavior leads to heatstroke.

Contact the Bottaro Law Firm, LLC about Your Personal Injury Case

Attorney Mike Bottaro has years of experience representing clients in personal injury lawsuits and insurance settlements in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. If you have a loved one who suffered from personal injuries resulting from neglectful behavior in extensive summer heat, contact us today to schedule your free consultation.