Hot Car Deaths: An Ongoing Threat to Children

Boy sitting in carseat

Local Hot Car Deaths

As reported by NBCWashington.com, a 5-year-old boy recently died from heat stroke after being left in his mother’s SUV in Springfield, VA.  The temperature outside was 93 degrees with a 100+ degree heat index.  The child was left inside the vehicle for several hours as the temperatures rose well above 100 degrees.

In 2007, a Virginia child died after the mother forgot him inside a car.  The outside temperature was only 66 degrees but the temperature inside the car climbed to 120 degrees.  Hot car deaths are a continuous threat in the metropolitan area, especially for children.

National Data

Statistics documented by KidsandCars.org indicate that hot car deaths continue to be a threat to children. In 2021 alone, twelve hot car fatalities have been recorded. Since 2017, a total of 190 hot car deaths have been verified.

Prevention

  • Be alert to the dangers of leaving a child inside of a car.
  • Follow a method that works for you to remind yourself to always check when leaving the car.
  • Educate your child’s babysitter about the dangers of leaving your child in the car.
  • Do not be deceived by the weather. Even on a cool day, the sun can heat up a car quickly.
  • Cracking the windows does not cool down the car enough to prevent danger.

Take Action

If you notice a child that is left inside a car, do your part to help. Don’t wait for the driver to return. Call 911 and follow their instructions.

If the child is unresponsive:

  • Get the child out of the vehicle anyway possible.
  • Move them to a cooler area (find air conditioning or shade).
  • Remove the child’s clothes to let heat leave their body.
  • Apply cool water or a damp cloth.
  • Check for signs of heat stroke.

Signs of Heat Stroke include:

  • Hot, flush, red appearance,
  • Slow/weak pulse or strong/rapid pulse,
  • Confusion or strange behavior,
  • Nausea,
  • Not sweating.

Hot Car Act 2021

The Hot Car Act 2021 was recently introduced to the United States House of Representatives.  This bill would require “all new passenger motor vehicles to be equipped with a child safety alert system”.  According to saferoads.org, the systems would “detect the presence of an occupant inside when the engine is off and alert the driver and/or others to prevent hot car injuries and deaths”.  Technology inside the car would be an incredible benefit to preventing hot car deaths throughout the nation.  Most importantly, it is up to parents to be aware of the dangers of hot cars and to keep their child safe. For any questions, contact our personal injury lawyers.