Heat Dangers for Children Left in Cars

With hot summer days upon us, it is important to be reminded of the dangerous consequences that can result from leaving children unattended in a car, even for a short period of time.

The nonprofit safety group Kids and Cars reports that more than 600 U.S. children have died since 1990 from overheating when left alone in cars. According to one WebMD article, Christopher Haines DO, the Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, “The temperature [inside a car] can increase by 30 to 40 degrees in an hour, and 70% of this increase occurs the first 30 minutes.” (WebMD). When the body temperature passes 104 degrees Fahrenheit, heatstroke may occur. Heatstroke overwhelms the brain’s temperature control, causing dizziness, disorientation, agitation, confusion, sluggishness, seizure, loss of consciousness, and/or death. (WebMD) Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children under age 14. To help prevent tragic and unnecessary deaths due to heatstroke, Safe Kids and the General Motors Foundation created an awareness campaign called Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car. (Safe Kids)

Parents frequently underestimate the amount of time they are leaving their children in the car. A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body, so even a short period of time in a hot car can cause great harm to a child. If you have a loved one who suffered from personal injuries resulting from neglectful behavior in extensive summer heat, contact a Rhode Island personal injury lawyer to review your case.