Every year, warm weather brings great things — summer break, family vacations, swimming, ice cream and sunny days. But warm weather also brings stories of tragedy — children and pets left in hot cars for a few minutes or in some cases a few hours, with disastrous and often deadly results.
A hot car is like an oven, trapping sunlight and heat inside. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 25 children die every year as a result of being trapped in a hot car.
High temperatures can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs, and the temperature outside doesn’t have to be too high to heat up a car. In direct sunlight, a car can reach internal temperatures around 130 degrees Fahrenheit, even if the outside temperature is 60 degrees. Rolling down the window does not make a significant dent in those temperatures, so even that precaution may not help.
As we get closer to those warm sunny days of summer, it is important to brush up on safety tips for traveling with young children and animals in cars that can become hot boxes in a matter of minutes. Parents and caretakers should be taking steps to prevent these tragedies from happening.
No matter how fast you think you are, having the mentality that “you will only be gone for a few minutes” while your child is sleeping peacefully and you don’t want to get out the stroller since you only need eggs and milk, and you’ll lock the doors behind you, etc. can lead to deadly consequences in the summer heat.
A car can heat up quickly and put your child at risk for heatstroke, dehydration and more. Even a 10-minute grocery trip can turn deadly with unexpected delays or a quick change in temperature; therefore, it is always a good idea to simply wake your children and take them into the store with you.
The quick trip mentality can lead to serious harm to a child and cause a parent significant legal trouble as well. If another shopper sees unattended children and alerts the police or store managers, they may take actions that can result in the parent being charged with abuse, neglect or criminal negligence that can have a negative impact on the entire family, potentially with such serious consequences as parental rights being revoked, counseling or even time in jail.
Summer is also a busy time of year with sports, family events and other activities and many parents are constantly on-the-go. In the hustle and bustle of family life, children can sometimes be left behind or forgotten for a few moments, but even a short time of being left behind can be disastrous for the child or children involved. A parent may forget a sleeping or quiet child and leave the child locked in the car for minutes or hours in the heat.
Parents never want to put their children in danger, but hot cars are one of summer’s biggest threats, and without proper warnings and precautions, many children may be in danger. At Levine Law, we urge parents and caretakers to be careful and vigilant this summer as they travel with their children and pets. For more information, contact one of our Denver personal injury attorneys today.