Author: James Mick "Jamie" Kessel, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Lawyer
Busy parents and caregivers don’t get many breaks during hot summer months. With children out of school, the daily schedule may differ day to day and tragedies can occur during this hectic time. It’s vital to remain alert, engaged, and avoid distractions when transporting children on hot days in order to prevent injury or loss of life.
July 31st is National Heatstroke Prevention Day. Many organizations use this date to bring awareness to the dangers of leaving children, pets and adults in hot cars.
To make sure no child has been left behind, Safercar.gov recommends following these tips:
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle - even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on
- Always check the back seat of your vehicle before you lock the door and walk away
- If someone else is driving your child or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely
- Ask the childcare provider to call if the child does not show up for care as expected
- Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat
Medically defined as “hyperthermia,” heatstroke is a particular danger to children because their bodies heat up 3 to 5 times faster than adults. Children injured due to heatstroke in hot cars can suffer ailments including permanent brain injury, blindness and loss of hearing. Heatstroke deaths and injuries can occur when a child gets into an unlocked vehicle to play without a parent’s knowledge. Other incidents can occur when a parent or caregiver who is not used to transporting a child as part of their daily routine inadvertently forgets a sleeping infant in a rear-facing car seat in the back of the vehicle.
If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 or the local emergency number. A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled in an effort to prevent serious injuries or death. Children are more vulnerable to heatstroke than adults, and following these tips can help reduce their risk of heatstroke.