An experienced personal injury lawyer knows children die every summer as a result of caregivers accidentally leaving them inside vehicles that get too hot. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is trying to prevent these tragic deaths from occurring this year by launching a campaign to remind caregivers of the dangerous effects of heat and by establishing protocols that parents and other care providers can use to make sure that children in Boston are not accidentally left inside vehicles.
Preventing the Risk of Injury or Death When Children Are Left in Vehicles
A child can suffer devastating and fatal injuries even on days that do not seem to be that warm. When the temperature outside is in the mid or even the low 80s, it is possible for the inside of a vehicle to get deathly warm in just 10 minutes even if the car windows have been left cracked open.
Young children do not do as well at regulating the temperature of their bodies as adults, and it does not take long for a child's body temperature to reach the dangerous level of 107 degrees. Once a child's body temperature has become this elevated, permanent brain damage can lead to symptoms like cognitive impairment, deafness, and blindness. A child can also die due to complications of excessive heat within a matter of minutes.
Children sometimes become trapped inside vehicles because they play in hot cars. Kids need to be taught that it is not OK to ever get inside of a car without having a parent or a caregiver with them.
Children are also left inside vehicles by parents because parents forget that the child is in the back seat. There is an elevated risk of this when a parent who normally does not transport the child is driving the child to daycare or to any other location. Parents are encouraged to always get into the habit of checking their back and front seats to make sure a child is not accidentally left inside the car. Parents should also keep their briefcase, their purse, or their phone inside of the back seat of the car so that this serves as a reminder to open the back door. This way, they will see if their child has accidentally been left in the vehicle.
Professional caregivers like daycare centers and bus drivers also need to be careful to avoid accidentally leaving children aboard a vehicle. These professionals can be held civilly and criminally liable for leaving a child on a hot vehicle. A head-count should be done whenever the vehicle transporting children is parked and unloaded, and the vehicle should be checked to make sure that all children have disembarked.
Injuries due to excessive heat are preventable but they happen anyway. Last year, there were 30 kids killed by being left inside of a hot car. Since 1998, a total of 637 kids have died. Many more kids have suffered permanent brain damage. Parents and caregivers need to take responsibility this summer for preventing any more tragedies from happening.
Boston accident victims may contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 or can visit www.marksalomone.com. Serving Boston, Back Bay, Fenway, North End, South End, Allston, Beacon Hill, Mission Hill, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury and surrounding areas.