Carmakers Agree to Add Alarms to Prevent Child Heatstroke Death
Every summer, news headlines deliver the tragic news that a child has died after being left in a hot car. This phenomenon, sometimes called forgotten baby syndrome, happens when a parent or caregiver either accidentally or intentionally leaves a young child in a vehicle in sweltering temperatures.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers have committed to adding rear seat reminder systems or alarms to lessen the likelihood of hot car deaths. Industry efforts aimed at hot car death prevention will include various “baby in car reminder” alarms or other approaches to help adults remember to check the back seat before exiting their vehicles.
The alliance suggests that vehicles become equipped with a baby car seat alarm system that will include a combination of auditory and visual alerts that will activate after a driver turns off the vehicle.
All motor vehicles are expected to have a similar car seat warning system for model year vehicles 2025 and after.
Hot Car Death Statistics
The number of young children left in cars each year is staggering. Consider these statistics from the National Safety Council (NSC):
- Nearly 50 children under the age of 15 died in hot cars in 2019.
- Every state has experienced at least one hot car fatality over the last years.
- Some states have higher rates of hot car deaths than others, especially Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and California.
- 2018 had a record number of hot car deaths, with a total of 53.
How Do Parents Forget Their Children in Cars?
There are numerous reasons that parents can forget their kids in the back seat, but often it is a combination of stress and distraction. It is never appropriate to leave a child in a car alone under any circumstances, even for a few minutes.
Keeping a car’s windows open or cracked doesn’t make much difference in terms of protection, either. A study from the American Academy of Pediatrics found that in either situation, the interior temperature of a car can jump 40 degrees even when outdoor temperatures are a mild 72 degrees.
In addition, a child’s body is not able to regulate temperature as well as an adult’s, putting them at significant risk of heat stroke.
What Happens If a Baby is Left in the Car Too Long?
If a child is left in the car for too long, he or she can experience heat stroke, which can be fatal. Symptoms of heatstroke in children includes but is not limited to:
- Fatigue or weakness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Heat cramps in the abdominal muscles, arms or legs
- Lack of sweating
- Shortness of breath
Heat exhaustion or heat stroke needs to be treated by a medical professional immediately. It is essential to take action to lower the child’s body temperature by providing cold drinks, removing clothing and applying cool water to the skin until emergency help arrives.
How Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Help?
Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be possible to take action against a person or entity (e.g., a daycare) who negligently left your child in a hot vehicle. In the case of a hot car death, a wrongful death lawsuit could provide compensation for medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, pain and suffering and possibly punitive damages.
Parents may also be able to file a personal injury action if their child was left in a hot car and survived. Overheating is more than just a simple case of dehydration. Heatstroke can result in permanent physical damage, including brain injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney can help families decide their next step if their child was left in a hot car.
How Can Stewart Law Offices Help Me?
If your child sustained injuries in a hot car death of another party’s negligence, you deserve to be compensated for your family’s suffering. Talk to one of the compassionate South Carolina attorneys at Stewart Law Offices. Although compensation cannot possibly make up for the loss of a child, it can help manage financial burdens that arise from the event and hold the reckless party accountable for their actions.
Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about your legal rights.