Children Dying in Hot Cars Hits Record High in 2010

The Sun-Sentinel reminds Floridians that this is the season for one of the deadliest tragedies – forgetting a child in a hot car. Many people don’t realize that the inside of a car in the sun at 80 degrees can heat up in just 20 minutes to 109 degrees.

Last year, across the country 49 children from ages 2 months to 6-years-old died after being forgotten in a hot vehicle and since 1998, 495 children have died when they were left behind in hot cars by distracted caregivers. Florida consistently ranks as the second worst state for this type of tragedy, according to Safe Kids USA.

No parent can imagine how someone can forget their child, but it happened to a 38-year-old man from Cape Coral. Last March, after taking his daughter to the doctor, he rushed back to work and left the 17-month-old in the car seat. When he returned to the vehicle sometime later, he found her dead from heat stroke. Now the man gives presentations speaking about the dangers of complacency. “Don’t go around thinking it can’t happen to you,” he says. The man blames such tragedies on hectic lifestyles, absent-mindedness, and most people going through the day on auto-pilot.

Just over half of the time since 1998, Safe Kids USA found parents forgot their children in the back seat. In about one-third of the deaths, a child accidentally locked themselves in a car. Parents deliberately left their children in a car about 17 percent of the time.

The Florida personal injury lawyers at Farah & Farah remind you to never leave children alone in the car, even for a minute. Have reminders throughout the vehicle to prompt you to look in the backseat so a child is not forgotten. Arrange a reminder call, put your computer or other item in the backseat, or put a note on the dashboard so you never forget. Do whatever it takes to avoid this totally preventable tragedy.