As the summer is currently in full effect, this is a friendly reminder that parents should always make sure NOT to leave their kids or pets in a hot car by themselves.
While local news constantly covers the horror stories of parents forgetting about their kids when they go to work or go back into their house, sometimes parents intentionally leave their kids in a hot car. This is not because the parents intend to harm their child or dog, but because they rationalize that they will only be gone for a minute. Whether popping your head into a store to just grab one item or unloading a car full of groceries, it is wrong to leave a child in the car. A few minutes in a hot car could lead to death for a child, if hot enough.
Recently, Kars4Kids sponsored the Hot Car Challenge in Lakewood, New Jersey, to see how long adults could last in a hot car. They were offered 100 dollars if they could sit in a hot car for ten minutes with the windows rolled up. The temperature was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit and though many probably thought the challenge would be a piece of cake, none of the adults could successfully complete the challenge.
Although people who did not partake in the challenge could remark that they could have survived the ten minutes or that the challenge was staged, they are missing the point. Many people don't realize how hot a car can get. Greg McKay, director of the Department of Child Safety did another demonstration on how hot a car will get within 10 minutes of the windows being rolled up. On the day of McKay’s demonstration it was also 90 degrees Fahrenheit. outside. However, after 10 minutes the temperature inside the car became 108 degrees because of the rolled up windows. And after 25 minutes the temperature rose to a whopping 124 degrees. This shows the serious danger of leaving a child or a pet in the car on a hot day.
If the sheer temperature isn't enough to ship people from leaving children unattended in hot cars, here is an even scarier number. More than 750 children, mostly toddlers and younger, have died of a heat stroke in the back seats of cars since the mid-1980s, which is about an average of 38 kids per year.
The Hot Car Challenge was performed to remind people how easily it is for a child or a pet to die due to being left in a hot car. If adults can’t handle staying in a car for ten minutes, there is no reason to think that children can.
In order for people to ensure the safety of their child, here are some more old-fashioned methods that can help prevent hot-car deaths:
- Leaving a purse or briefcase in the backseat with the child.
- Removing your shoe, wallet or cellphone to put with your child.
- Keeping a stuffed animal in the back seat car seat. When a child is in the seat, place the toy in the passenger seat as a reminder.
All of these tip help remind adults to check the backseat so that no helpless passengers are left behind when the adult exits the vehicle.
It is also important to note however, that exposure to extreme temperatures and their resulting symptoms are not the only way that children and pets may be harmed when left unattended in a vehicle. Motor vehicle accidents are very common with parked cars. Whether stopped on the side of a road or in a parking lot, collisions happen. While the vehicle is unoccupied the only concern may damage to the car and the hassle of dealing with auto insurance companies, however, when the vehicle has a child or a pet in it, the situation becomes very serious. In the case of a hit and run, a child or dog could be injured and could go unnoticed until the owner of the car comes back.
The bottom line is, DO NOT leave children or pets unattended in a car.
As summer reaches it's peak, it is important to be mindful of protecting children and pets from the heat. Children and pets should NEVER be left a hot car by themselves, for any reason. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident due to occupying a parked car, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are highly experienced in handling any time of motor vehicle collision, including those involving parked cars. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.