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NHTSA Ramps Up Efforts to Prevent Children Deaths in Hot Cars

Published August 11, 2011 by Scott Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney

The temperatures continue to soar into the 90s and 100s across the country, and also here in New York. The dangers associated with overexertion and long periods of outdoor activity are well publicized, but many still forget about the dangers of leaving children in hot cars even for short periods of time.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stepped up its efforts to prevent senseless child deaths after being left in parked cars in these high-heat conditions. Our injury attorneys in Binghamton implore parents and caregivers to take children inside regardless of how short of a period an errand or stop may be.

The NHTSA convened a roundtable of experts in July after 21 child hyperthermia-related fatalities were reported this year. According to NHTSA research, hyperthermia is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle deaths for children under the age of fourteen.

“These twenty-one deaths were tragic and preventable – not one of those children should have lost their lives in this horrible way,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We need to do everything we can to remind people to be vigilant and never leave a child alone in or around a motor vehicle.”

According to the San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences, 49 children under the age of 14 died in 2010 due to hyperthermia. Several states have witnessed especially high incidences of fatalities for children aged 3 and under – including Texas, Florida, California, Nevada, and North Carolina.

The NHTSA offers advice for parents and caregivers to help prevent hyperthermia injuries and fatalities such as these. Most notably, adults must recognize that vehicles heat up quickly even in outside temperatures at a moderate 80° Fahrenheit. With a window rolled down 2 inches, the temperature inside a vehicle can rise 20 degrees as quickly as 10 minutes.

Furthermore, children’s bodies overheat easily, and infants and children under four years of age are among those at greatest risk for heat-related illness. When left in a hot vehicle, a young child’s body temperature may increase three to five times faster than an adult’s.

Not all hyperthermia deaths in children are the result of being left alone in the car. Accidental deaths can occur after children climb into an unlocked vehicle without an adult’s knowledge. Children may then become confused by the door opening mechanism or become trapped in the trunk. They may not be able to get out before heatstroke occurs.

Parents should keep cars locked with keys in a safe place and should never leave a child in a car unattended by an adult at any time. Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, in Binghamton encourages parents and adults to immediately call 911 if you see a child in a locked car in a parking lot.

Contact Our Binghamton Injury Attorneys Today

Experience counts. If your child has suffered injuries in New York as a result of negligence by a caregiver or in a vehicle accident, contact Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, to help. Our New York personal injury law office handles all types of accident, injury and medical malpractice cases.

As you work on recovering from your injuries, let our Binghamton, New York accident attorney’s office take care of the rest, including the paperwork, insurance documents and other legal issues related to your accident. Contact our personal injury attorney today at (607) 304-4121 or use our online contact form. There is no charge for the consultation.

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