Our California personal injury lawyers have been active in spreading awareness about the dangers of hot cars. In Southern California, where it is balmy for most of the year, this is a year-round danger, not just in the summer. However, the most tragic injuries and deaths to children left in hot cars by parents or caretakers commonly occur during the summer. Roughly 37 children die in hot cars each year in the United States, according to researchers at San Jose State University who have tracked 712 reports of child hot car deaths since 1998.
While a majority of incidents occur in the summer months of June, July and August, child hot car deaths occur almost in every month of the year. A majority of victims are 2 years old or younger. A majority of hot car deaths also occur when parents or caretakers unintentionally leave a child behind. Most children who died in hot cars were forgotten by a caregiver, were playing in a car that was left unattended or were intentionally left in the car.
Here are seven tips, which we hope will help parents and caregivers prevent these tragic incidents:
- Never leave children alone in or around cars, not even for a minute. Some of the most horrific tragedies occur when adults leave children in cars thinking they would be back in a minute.
- Put something you will need like a cell phone, employee ID, wallet or brief case on the floorboard in the back seat. That way, you minimize the chances of forgetting that your child is sleeping in the back seat.
- Get in the habit of opening the back door of your vehicle each and every time when you reach your destination to make sure you have not left your child behind.
- Keep a diaper bag or some item of your child’s in the front seat, which could serve as a reminder that your child is in the back seat.
- Arrange with your child’s babysitter that you will always call if your child won’t be there on a particular day as scheduled. That way, you’ll get a call from your caregiver if you forgot to drop off your child at the daycare center.
- Use the buddy system. Assign an adult passenger to remind you a child is in the car. This can be particularly helpful when children are sleeping in the back seat.
- Finally, if you see something, do something. If you see a child alone in a hot car, call 911 right away. You could be helping save a life!