In April, before the temperatures began heating up too much, our South Florida personal injury attorneys issued a reminder of the dangers of leaving children unattended in hot cars. Sadly, in August alone, eight children across the United States, including one child in Florida, died after being left inside a car.
According to the Department of Geosciences at San Francisco State University, a four-year-old died in 92-degree heat in Tamarac, FL on August 1. In addition, three children died between Aug. 1 and Aug. 7 in TN, three died in AR and one more died in NM during the same time period. These deaths bring the total number of hyperthermia deaths of children left in cars in 2012 to 23. Last year there were 33 deaths in the entire year.
ABC News reports the latest child death, in TN, occurred when the parent dropped off one child at school, but forgot to drop off the five-month-old at day care. When the mother returned in the afternoon to pick the child up at daycare she was told he wasn’t there. The woman found her child in the van.
Many times these deaths are not intentional, rather occur after a change in routine or when a child falls asleep in the car and is forgotten. “This doesn’t have any kind of a profile where you can say rich or poor, young or old, smart or stupid,” Carr of Safe Kids Worldwide told ABC News. “This can happen to anyone.”
“It happens to everyone in all walks of life,” Donna Bryan, the Safety Council of Palm Beach County’s marketing director told the Sun Sentinel.
The Sun Sentinel reports when the temperature is 80 degrees outside, the inside of a car can reach 99 degrees within just 10 minutes, and can climb to 109 degrees in 20 minutes even when a window is cracked. Federal and State advocates are working hard to educate parents and day care staff of the dangers of heatstroke when children are left unattended in a car, even for a short time.
The Safety Council of Palm Beach County is running the “Baby in Back” campaign where it encourages parents to wear a blue bracelet as a reminder that their baby is in the car. Once they drop the child off, they remove the bracelet and place it in the car for the next time. The Sun Sentinel reports 20,000 bracelets have been handed out.
“It’s a low-tech thing to do,” Bryan said. “It’s almost like tying a little string around their fingers.” But anything to remind parents that their child is in the vehicle is critical in helping to save the life of their child.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) continues to run its “Where’s baby? Look before you lock” campaign meant to encourage parents and caretakers to look and think twice before leaving anyone in a vehicle.
Our Treasure Coast personal injury attorneys encourage all parents and caregivers to pay special attention to their young children during Florida’s hot summer. We also encourage anyone that sees a child left in a car to contact the police immediately.
If your child has been left unattended due to the negligence of another, you may be eligible for compensation. Although we realize no amount of money can bring your child back, by holding those responsible for the death, you may prevent other families from suffering the same tragedy.
About Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney
Since 1975, the law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, has been providing compassionate and professional legal assistance to personal injury and accident victims in South Florida on the Treasure Coast. The firm’s practice areas include auto accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, product liability, dog bite injuries, swimming pool accidents, slip-and-fall injuries, medical malpractice, and wrongful death claims.
The firm represents clients throughout the South Florida communities of Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Jupiter, Stuart, Okeechobee, Vero Beach, Palm Beach and across the state of Florida. For more information, call (800) 299-8878 or use the firm’s online contact form.