As of the beginning of August 2019, 26 children have died in hot cars in the United States. An average of 38 children die each year because of vehicular heatstroke. A record of 53 children died in hot cars during 2018. In California, there have been 49 reported child heatstroke deaths in vehicles since 1998. No deaths have been reported in California in 2019, but three children died in hot cars last year.
A serious mistake caregivers and parents make is assuming that this tragedy could never happen to them. While some parents knowingly leave their child in a vehicle and some children gained access to a vehicle without a parent’s knowledge, over one-half of the hot car deaths are the result of a parent or caregiver forgetting a child is in the vehicle. Our California personal injury attorney discusses some tips to prevent hot car deaths in this blog.
How Can Hot Car Deaths Be Prevented?
Preventing access to a vehicle is one way parents and caregivers can reduce the risk of injury or death for a child. Vehicles need to be secured whenever they are empty, and keys need to be placed out of a child’s reach. Making it a habit to check the vehicle every time you exit the vehicle and then locking the vehicle can help prevent access. It can be helpful to make it a habit to open the back door to check the car regardless if a child is with you or not. Once you create a habit, it is less likely a child may be forgotten.
Other tips for avoiding hot car child deaths include:
- After securing a child in the back seat of a vehicle, place something that you need in the back seat, such as your keys, cell phone, left shoe, pocketbook, wallet, or employee badge. Placing the item out of your reach from the front seat helps guarantee that you need to open the back door to retrieve the item.
- Put a large stuffed toy in a child’s safety seat when the seat is not in use. When you place your child in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front seat to help remind you that your child is riding with you.
- Ask caregivers or teachers to call you if your child does not arrive at school or daycare on time.
- Set the alarm on your telephone for the time your child should be at school, daycare, or practice. Make the alarm a sound that is unique to get your attention.
- Consider purchasing a vehicle equipped with technology (or adding the technology to your current vehicle) that alerts you to check the back seat before exiting the vehicle.
Parents and caregivers can also complete the free online course offered by the National Safety Council. The training tool provides information about vehicular heatstroke and additional tips for preventing hot car child deaths.
Contact a California Personal Injury Attorney If Your Child Is Injured
Children who are injured in accidents may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and damages. A California personal injury attorney can help you protect your child’s legal rights while seeking justice from the party responsible for your child’s injury. Contact us today for a free consultation with a California personal injury attorney.