Hot Car Deaths: A Preventable Tragedy
Wouldn’t it be great if we could get through an entire summer without hearing the gut-wrenching report about another tragic death of a child who was left unattended in a vehicle? Unfortunately, these deaths occur far too often. Many people condemn the caregivers, shuttle drivers, babysitters, and others who make this catastrophic mistake, but in reality, it could happen to anyone. This is why it’s so important for parents to understand how to protect their children.
Car Heatstroke Statistics
As of July 9, 2013 the media has reported that 20 children have died this year after being left unattended in a vehicle. Twelve of these deaths were confirmed as heatstroke; the other 8 died of “undetermined causes.” This horrific scenario plays out over and over again all across the country– the average death toll is 37 toddlers and babies every year. How many more such reports will we hear before this summer is over?
A total of 580 children have suffered this awful death since 1998. The majority of these victims, about 31 percent, weren’t even a year old. One-year-olds, on the other hand, made up 22 percent of these deaths, and three-year-olds made up another 20 percent.
Additional Issues Drivers Face
If a child dies of heatstroke after being left in a vehicle, the caretaker may face manslaughter charges due to their alleged negligence. In some areas, however, child endangerment is considered a felony. Leaving a child unattended in a car is considered child endangerment, and any death that occurs during the commission of a felony can be charged as murder. The caretaker may also face civil liabilities due to wrongful death suits brought on by the child’s parents. Should such a tragedy befall your family and you lose your child, A local personal injury attorney firm can help steer you through the legal process of seeking damages.
How To Prevent The Tragedy
Before placing your child under the care of a babysitter or caregiver, review with them the ways they can avoid accidentally leaving your child in the car. Remind them to always keep a stuffed animal in a child’s seat. When the child is in the car, put this toy in the front passenger seat. This will provide a visual reminder that the child is in the vehicle.
Ask them to place their purse, briefcase, or other vital object in the back seat with the child. It will ensure that the driver sees the child before going about their day. It’s also important to realize, however, that these deaths sometimes occur when children climb into unoccupied cars. This can be prevented simply by ensuring that unoccupied vehicles are locked at all times.
Heat stroke is a preventable horror. Our children deserve better! All it requires is taking a few simple precautions. It’s imperative that all of us be alert and proactive in order to prevent such senseless tragedies. No amount of time in a hot car is safe for any child, and a moment of forgetfulness or distraction because of the demands of the day can lead to civil damages, criminal charges, and unfortunately, the end of a young life.
Writer LaGeris Underwood Bell hopes this article will inspire readers to be alert to the dangers of leaving children unattended in hot cars. The legal team of Tenn And Tenn, P.A. at http://www.tennandtenn.com/ has a solid track record in dealing with such cases for families living in New Hampshire. Even if you are dealing with a relatively uncomplicated injury of a child situation, you need savvy, battle-tested local legal guidance now to help you make the best choices for you and your child’s financial and medical welfare.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/seanfreese/6932762098/
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