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Child Deaths in Hot Cars Spike During Summer Months

Even a few minutes in a hot car can be dangerous for a small child. As San Diego injury attorneys, we want to join the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) in reminding parents and caregivers about the risks of leaving children unattended in a vehicle.

As OTS highlights, a car’s internal temperature can rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit on seemingly cooler days, and can rapidly reach fatal temperatures, increasing as much as 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes. Under California law, it is illegal to leave children unattended in a motor vehicle.

“Leaving a child unattended for even a minute can lead to heatstroke and even death,” said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy. “It is imperative that everyone take steps to safeguard their children by remaining alert and ensuring that no child is left unsupervised.”

To help parents and guardians follow the law and keep their children safe this summer, OTS has compiled the following tips and reminders:

  • Never leave your child unattended in a hot vehicle, not even for a minute
  • For parents of young children, place a needed item for your next stop, such as your cell phone or purse, on the floor in front of your child’s safety seat. This will help to remind you that your child is in the car when you retrieve the needed items
  • Set a reminder or alarm on your cell phone that reminds you to drop off your child at school or day care, or have a loved one call to ensure that the drop-off occurred
  • Ask day care providers to call if your child is ever late being dropped off
  • Develop a routine before exiting your car; check the backseat and lock all vehicle doors and the trunk every time
  • Always lock your car doors and do not give children access to keys or keyless entry devices
  • Teach your children that cars are never to be used as a place to play
  • If your child is missing, be sure to check all vehicles and trunks
  • If you see an unattended child in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately.