New Tech May Prevent Hot Car Child Deaths

On average, 37 children die every year due to being left in a hot car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Since 1998, a devastating total of 772 children have died due to vehicular heatstroke. It’s heartbreaking that so many young lives have been lost, and although these fatalities are 100% preventable, the number continues to rise each year. Newsweek reported that as of July 24, there have been 28 hot car deaths reported so far, with an additional 3 child hot car deaths currently under investigation.

Detroit Kid Car Crash Lawyer

It is difficult to imagine that a parent or guardian could forget their child in the car, yet according to San Antonio Express News, this is the case for approximately half of the reported heatstroke incidents. While stories of children being intentionally left in hot vehicles receive a lot of media attention, this type of hot car fatality occurs less frequently. Parents do not always have to be directly involved, because the NHTSA claims that approximately every 3 in 10 heat stroke fatalities take place when children are playing and decide to climb into unattended, unlocked vehicles.

In just a few minutes, the inside of a car can climb up to 125 °F. This is a dangerous temperature for any human, but it is especially dangerous for children because, “a child's body temperatures rise 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s.” For perspective, according to the NHTSA, “a core body temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal.” Temperature increases occur in the first 10 minutes after the ignition is turned off, regardless of whether the windows are rolled down or not. That is why, even if the windows are left cracked, it is never acceptable to leave children alone in vehicle.

In recent years, technology has been developed to help remind parents to check their backseat, with the goal of preventing children from being left in the vehicle. Since over half of the hot car death cases involve caretakers unintentionally forgetting children, increased use of this new technology has the potential to significantly lower the annual fatality rate. San Antonio Express News recently published an article naming three technology-based options parents can take advantage of to protect the safety of their child, which are discussed below.

In early 2018, car-seat company Cybex released “SensorSafe” technology into their Sirona model car seat. The chest buckle of the car seat is connected via bluetooth to the car and the caretaker’s cell phone. When the buckle is closed, a bluetooth connection is activated. Once the vehicle’s ignition is turned off, a series of alerts are sent to the car dashboard and the connected phone. The car buckle must be unclasped in 4 minutes, or else additional alerts will be sent, not only to the parent, but also to emergency contacts listed. Parents can choose to click either “ignore” or “acknowledge” on the notification itself, showing that they were indeed aware that their child was still in the car seat. Once the belt is unclasped, the bluetooth connection is deactivated. While the Sirona car seat retails for $329.99, it uses cutting edge technology that could be extremely helpful to parents who can afford to purchase it.

Waze

Waze

Car manufacturers are also aware of the problem surrounding child hot car deaths. In 2017, General Motors added a rear-seat reminder system to over 20 of their models. It’s only standard on 10 Chevrolet models, but it can be selected as an add on feature to others. It simply works by sending the driver an alert to remind them that they opened the rear door of their vehicle after they turn off the ignition. This is a great option for any parent looking to buy a new car, but is not practical for those who are currently content with the vehicle they own. For these parents, they can download an app called Waze. In 2016, the popular navigation app added a “Child Reminder” feature, which when activated, sends the driver a notification to, “check your car before you leave” once the destination is reached. This solution is completely free and only requires that the parent inputs their destination once they enter the vehicle, which they might already have done to receive navigational directions.

Most people have experienced the feeling of discomfort after getting into a car that has been sitting in the sun. Now imagine being a child and being unable to escape the excruciating heat. This is a situation that should never happen. Taking advantage of technology like the Cybex “SensorSafe” car seat or the Waze App “Child Reminder” feature can help prevent the fatalities that result from leaving kids unintentionally in vehicles. However, technology may not be an option for all families. Something all parents can do that is free and simple is to, “look before you lock,” as recommended by the NHTSA. It’s an easy habit that could potentially be life saving. With daily life increasingly revolving around cellphones, it is even suggested that parents put their phones or something important like a briefcase or groceries in the backseat to help remind them to check for their child. Ultimately, parents need to find a effective solution, whether it involves technology or not, that works for them and ensures their child does not become another statistic.


Unfortunately, stories of children and pets left alone in hot cars every time summer rolls around has become all too common. While it’s easy to get distracted in today’s nonstop world, parents need to make the safety of their children their number one priority. No matter how hectic life gets, it is never okay to leave a child or a pet in a hot car. Parents should always check the back seat when they reach their destination, and lock their car after making sure no one is inside. For a free legal consultation with an experienced accident attorney regarding any type of auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Newborn Baby Abandoned In Unknown Car

Child Hot Car Lawyer Michigan

A visitor to Mercy Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI discovered a newborn baby abandoned in a car in the hospital parking lot, on the morning of June 12, 2017 and alerted police. The baby was not found in its parents' car but in an unknown man's vehicle. Officials are currently working to get to the bottom of the case. It has been reported that the baby’s 24-year-old mother is currently cooperating with investigators. However, it is still unclear whether or not the baby’s mother knows the man in whose car the baby was found.

Luckily, the baby, who appears to have been born within the last week, is in good health. However, the baby's abandonment is even more alarming because of the recent hot Summer weather in Michigan. Temperatures outside on Monday, June 12th reached the mid-90s, turning the inside of vehicles into ovens. It is of course, never safe to leave children or pets inside hot cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that from 1998-2016, 700 children died from heatstroke in vehicles. 54% of these deaths were due to the child being forgotten in a car by a caregiver. While a few minutes in a hot car might sound harmless, in just ten minutes, a car can heat up to 20 degrees higher than the outside temperature, which can be enough to kill children who are left in vehicles. Additionally, children are often too young to alert others for help if they are trapped in an abandoned car.

Source:  Kars4Kids.org

It is therefore important to “check for baby” before leaving the car, to ensure child hot car safety. Making it a habit to check the backseat before leaving the car can prevent children from being left behind on hot days. The non-profit organization Kars4Kids wants to help bring awareness to this important subject. They have developed an app to help forgetful parents remember that there is someone alive and breathing in the back of their vehicle, among the mountains of groceries.

They have created an app, called Kars4Kids Safety, which is designed to set off an alarm every time a phone that has the app leaves a vehicle. It does this by connecting to a car's Bluetooth technology to track when a user goes in and out of a vehicle. A customizable ringtone and option to add your child's photo make remembering to double check one's car as easy as posting on Facebook about your baby's first trip to the pool. Considering that even with windows rolled two inches down, a car can overheat at mercury-defying rates, Kars4Kids is helping fight for child car safety.  

Not only is it important to make sure children aren't left in cars, but it is equally important to not allow them to break into a vehicle when adult attention is turned away. Cars may look like giant playgrounds to small children, but in reality they are powerful, dangerous machines that should only be used for driving and not for hide and seek. By locking the car when it is not in use and by keeping keys out of reach of children, children can be stopped from being able to get into a vehicle and potentially trapping themselves inside.  

Michigan Child Car Safety Lawyer

While most parents and caretakers unintentionally leave children and pets in cars because they were distracted and forgot about the quiet dog or sleeping baby in the back, others think it's ok to leave a child in a car because they'll be right back in just one minute. While these actions are dangerous to the child, they are not done with ill intent. The Grand Rapids baby on the other hand was presumably, intentionally, abandoned in a hot car in a hospital parking lot. It's a shame that this is how the mother decided to leave her child when, according to CBS Detroit, the State of Michigan allows people to surrender their newborn babies to hospitals and other emergency care providers, without having to worry about criminal charges. In fact, the mother could have left the baby safely with a health care professional in the hospital itself, where she presumably gave birth, and not outside in a hot car. No matter what, there is no excuse for leaving a child to die alone in a hot vehicle. 

Driving with children always requires extra precautions, particularly in the Summer when scorching hot temperatures make vehicles burn to the touch. With the rescue and shelter resources available around the State of Michigan, there is no reason a child should be left behind. On June 12, a stranger saved a newborn baby's life. Next time, someone might not be there until it is too late.


Children should never be left in car on sweltering hot Summer days, for their own safety. If you so someone you know is in need of legal assistance relating to an incident of child car safety, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.Firm for a free consultation.

Heat Related Child Car Deaths Have Doubled Since 2015

Tragedy struck Dallas this past weekend as a toddler became the 21st child to die in a hot car this year in the United States, according to the national safety advocacy organization KidsAndCars.org. That is nearly twice as high as the number of children who died due to being in the car under hot temperatures than this time last year. 

With temperatures in the mid-90’s on Sunday afternoon, the child’s father noticed that the boy wasn’t in his regular children’s Bible service class, according to CNN. A member of the Dallas Matu Christian Church stated that the boy’s father went to his car, found the boy inside and carried him into the church, shouting that someone needed to call 911. After paramedics performed CPR, the boy was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

A couple days before, 4-year old Samaria Motyka died in a car in Pennsylvania, where the temperatures rose to 97 degrees. CNN reports that a woman who takes care of the girl usually dropped her at daycare in the mornings but on Friday the woman drove to work. At the end of the day, she returned to her car and found the girl unconscious. Attempts of reviving the girl from paramedics were unsuccessful. 

“The biggest mistake people make is thinking that it can’t happen to them”

According to Jeanette Fennell, KidsAndCars.org founder and president, there are typically two sets of circumstances that lead to this kind of tragedy. Children will either get into a car on their own or an adult leaves them in the car because they were distracted or didn’t think the heat would have such negative effects on their child. The organization has given parents tips which will help prevent them from forgetting their child is in the backseat, including putting something they need in the backseat which will force them to look in the backseat where the child is sitting. Fennel says that an average of 37 children die every year from heat stroke in a vehicle. 87% of kids that die this way are 3 years old or younger. 

“The biggest mistake people make is thinking that it can’t happen to them,” Fennell said. “Everyone should practice those safety measures and do whatever they have to do to remind themselves to check the backseat.”


Parents please be aware of your child's presence in the car, especially during these summer months where cars can reach dangerous temperatures in a matter of 5-10 minutes. Tragedies like these are 100% preventable. If you or somebody you know has been injured in an auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.