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Preventing Child Heatstroke Deaths in Hot Cars

Summer is a busy time for parents, whether it is rushing to playdates, camp, or swimming lessons. While no parent can contemplate leaving their child in a hot car, it happens more than many realize. It can be particularly deadly in the warm summer months.

So far this year, a dozen children have died from being left in a vehicle. With summer just starting, the fatality rate is nearly three times higher than this time last year, according to the National Safety Council.

Tragically, heatstroke can occur in a matter of minutes. In 10 minutes, the temperature in a vehicle can rise over 20 degrees. Even when the temperature is only 60 degrees outside, the temperature inside your car can reach 110 degrees. Children can die when their body temperature reaches 107 degrees.

To help prevent heatstroke deaths, recommends taking the following steps:

  • Be extra alert if your routine changes. That's when the risk of unintentionally leaving your child in your car increases.
  • Put something of your child's, like a toy, on the front seat.
  • Leave an item you'll need at your next destination in the backseat -- like your cell phone, purse, or briefcase.
  • Place your child's car seat in the middle of the backseat rather than behind the driver. It's easier to see the kid.
  • It's crucial to set up a system with your child-care provider. If you don't plan to drop off your child that day, call her. If the child doesn't arrive as expected, have the caregiver call you.
  • Discuss the topic of hot-car deaths with every person who drives your child anywhere. This includes partners, grandparents, and babysitters.
  • Always "Look Before You Lock." Get in the habit of checking the backseat every time you get out of the car.

If your child or someone you care about has suffered serious harm due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. To discuss your legal rights, contact a San Diego child injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.