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Never Leave Children in the Car

Steve Wagner

The temperatures are rising, and with the heat comes the horror stories of children being left inside hot vehicles. Right now, while we have your attention, we want to make you aware of the dangers of leaving your child in a hot car, even for a few seconds, as heat stroke can cause injuries faster in babies and young children, and can cause death within only a few minutes.

Most parents think “I would never forget my child in the car,” but once you start reading stories of the good, caring parents who *have* forgotten their children, you might think twice before dismissing your own ability to forget. Kidsandcars.org shares the stories of dozens of children who have died, or had near-misses in hot cars. Take a look at their faces and read their stories, and realize that all of these deaths happened to parents who loved and cared about their children, and merely made a mistake. It can happen to anyone.

In case these stories don’t make enough of an impact, take a look at the statistics:

  • Each year, an average of 38 children are killed from heat stroke after being left in a hot car. That’s one child every nine days.
  • Through 2013, 719 total children have lost their lives to these tragic accidents.
  • With the exception of two years since 1990, more children lose their lives each year to hyperthermia (heat stroke) than from front-seat accidents.

Kids in Cars also provides safety tips to keep your children safe this summer. Their best tips come in the form of an acronym: “Be Safe.”

B: Back Seat – Put something in the back seat of your vehicle that requires you to open the door every time you exit the car: your wallet, cell phone, purse, etc.

E: Every Child – Every child should be properly restrained in the back seat. Find out more about car seat safety, laws, and recommendations.

S: Stuffed Animal – Keep a stuffed animal in your child’s car seat that you remove and place in the front seat whenever you put your child in the car. Use this as a reminder to take your child out and replace the stuffed animal whenever you exit the vehicle.

A: Ask Your Babysitter – Ask a babysitter or child care provider to call you if your child is late to their destination.

F: Focus on driving – Put down your cell phone and focus on the road. The fewer distractions you have while driving, the less likely you are to forget your children are in the vehicle with you.

E: Every Time You Park – Get into the habit of opening the back door and looking into the back seat, even when your children aren’t in the car with you. If you make this a habit every time you exit the car, you won’t ever forget your children.

Even if you only plan to exit your car for a few seconds, the heat of the inside of a vehicle is an incredibly dangerous place for an infant or young child. Their bodies cannot regulate temperature like an adult’s can, and they can be injured or killed within only a few minutes.

There is no “safe” amount of time when it comes to leaving kids in cars. If you are getting out of the vehicle, get them out with you. Always. If your child has been left in the car by a negligent party, contact us for help in pursuing your personal injury case.

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