hot car deaths

Prevent Heatstroke and Death in Children This Summer

Texas and New Mexico’s summer temperatures can soar above a scorching 100+ degrees outside, and it only takes a few minutes for a hot car to become deadly to a child stuck inside.  In just 10 minutes a car’s internal temperature can increase by 20 degrees. Last year, 44 children died of heatstroke after being left inside a vehicle according to KidsandCars.org. It was one of the deadliest years on record. Approximately 13 hot car deaths have already been reported so far in 2014. You may have seen billboards along the highways warning drivers to never leave a child alone in a car.  The Lubbock personal injury lawyers at Liggett Law Group see our share of accidents and injuries. We want to help prevent these deadly hot car deaths, and remind Texas and New Mexico residents to take certain precautions in the hot summer months to protect their families from tragedy.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, 52 percent of child hot car deaths in cars result when a caregiver forgets that a child is in the car. The problem is not isolated to a particular demographic; it can happen to anyone, regardless of education or social standing.

Top Misconceptions About Heatstroke and Children

Cracking a window provides enough air to keep the car cool enough to keep a child comfortable and not in danger.
Cracking a window does little to keep the car cool.

Heat stroke can only happen during very hot summer days.
Even with temperatures in the 60’s, your car can heat up to well above 110 degrees. A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s. A child dies when his or her body temperature reaches 107.

 A-C-T to Prevent a Senseless Tragedy

  • Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by keeping your vehicle locked when you’re not in it so kids cannot get in on their own; and, never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute.
  • Create a reminder by putting your wallet, cell phone, or purse on the backseat of your car next to your child. This can be particularly helpful if you’re not following your normal routine. Drivers can also place a stuffed animal in the front passenger seat as an additional reminder.
  • Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel are trained to respond to these situations and want you to call.

Texas Law makes it a misdemeanor to intentionally or knowingly leave a child younger than seven years old in a vehicle for more than five minutes if they are not attended to by someone who is at least 14 years of age or older.

If you see a young child locked in a parked car for more than five minutes:

  • First make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.
  • If the child appears okay, you should attempt to locate the parents; or have the facility’s security or management page the car owner over the PA system.
  • If there is someone with you, one person should actively search for the parent while the other waits at the car.
  • If the child is not responsive and appears in great distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child, even if that means breaking a window.
  • If the child is in distress due to heat, get the child out of the car as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly by spraying the child with cool water (not in an ice bath).

With the alarming rate of heatstroke in children who have been left in cars, the Lubbock Personal Injury Attorneys at Liggett Law Group want to remind you to keep your children safe. Don’t hesitate to save the life of a child if you see one locked in a car. Call 911.