The weather in Florida is getting very warm and our West Palm Beach child injury attorneys know that a child left in a hot car in the Florida sun for just a few minutes could suffer permanent injury or even death. Unfortunately, a recent press release from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that 32 children died as a result of heatstroke in 2012. Twenty-four of these 32 deaths, or 75 percent of all fatal heatstroke incidents total, occurred in the months of June, July and August.
With the most dangerous months for heatstroke injuries upon us, now is an important time for parents and caregivers to remember and respect the risks. The NHTSA is bringing these issues to public attention with an educational and safety campaign called "Where's Baby? Look Before You Lock," which every parent should pay careful attention to. If parents and caregivers focus on avoiding heatstroke this summer, hopefully fewer children will suffer preventable injuries or lose their lives.
The Dangers of Heatstroke In Florida Summers
According to the NHTSA, four young children already died in the U.S. over the month of May as a result of being left inside of hot vehicles. Two of these tragedies occurred in parkings lots in schools.
Unfortunately, these types of incidents are especially common as school bus drivers and daycare center van operators may be less likely to account for the many children aboard their vehicles than parents with just one child. All children are at risk, however, including kids in cars with their parents. In fact, as Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated, even the most conscientious caregiver could make a mistake that has deadly results.
The sad fact is that it does not take very long for a child to be seriously hurt when left in a hot car, especially in the Florida sun. With temperatures in the low 80s, a car can heat up within just 10 minutes to a level that causes permanent injury or death. The longer the child is in the car and the hotter it is outside, the more likely it is that the incident will be fatal. However, even if a child survives being left in a hot car, he or she may experience serious complications including blindness, deafness and permanent brain damage.
Children are especially susceptible to heatstroke injuries because their bodies are less able to regulate temperature or to cope with temperature extremes. This creates an especially dangerous situation since young kids are the most apt to be hurt by being left inside a car and are the least able to speak up for themselves or extricate themselves from a dangerous situation. This is why kids under the age of four and infants face the greatest danger of a heatstroke death.
When a school bus driver or another caregiver is the one who puts a child at risk, the driver or school can be held legally accountable for injuries and deaths that result. Still, every caregiver and every parent needs to focus on preventing heatstroke and on keeping kids safe this summer.
If your child has been injured, contact West Palm Beach injury attorney David J. Glatthorn at 800-990-9394 for a free case review.