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Preventing Hot Car Child Deaths

One of the most devastating times in any parent’s life is when he or she loses a child. Having to retain a wrongful death attorney is distressing and overwhelming. Unfortunately, sometimes, the accident could have been avoided and the child’s death could have been prevented. One of the most dangerous situations for children is being left unattended in a hot car.

Heat stoke accident in car

Hot car child deaths continue to happen and already this year there have been several in our area. Sometimes the parent forgets a child in the back seat while at other times, a daycare provider is negligent and leaves the child in a vehicle. Two child deaths occurred in Houston last week, according to ABC News reports. One child was left in an SUV while the father worked for over five hours. The temperature at the time was 91 degrees.

Facts About Children in Hot Cars

Several factors are involved in the deaths of children in hot vehicles. Children’s bodies are smaller and they heat up faster than bodies of adults. When the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees, the body’s organs shut down. The National Safety Council (NSC) published a report last year. They found that a vehicle can become too hot for people quickly. For example, when the temperature outside is 86 degrees, it takes only 10 minutes for the inside of the car to reach 105 degrees.

Children cannot be left in a vehicle for any length of time, especially in hot weather. Young children cannot verbalize their situation, and therefore, the dangers of leaving young babies under 2 years old in a car are of even greater concern. If your child was left in a hot vehicle, call paramedics immediately and they will assist in checking the infant for signs of trauma. There are things you can do to help prevent leaving a child in a hot car.

Preventing Hot Car Deaths

Hot car deaths occur most often because the person forgets there is a child in the back seat. Leave something, such as your purse, wallet, or phone in the back seat. This will require you to check the area before you leave your vehicle. Keep your vehicle locked to prevent kids from playing inside the car when you are not present. Teach your kids to honk the horn if they are stuck in the car. If you see a child in a hot car, report it to the police immediately. If a child is missing, check the inside of all vehicles. Kids find cars irresistible and like to play inside of them. New technology is available in some vehicles to alert drivers if there is an occupant in the rear seat.

Pets Are Also at Risk

The number of dogs left in hot cars to their peril is astounding. Even when a window is cracked, the dog is at risk in the hot summer months. In only one hour, your car or pickup can heat up as much as 40 degrees hotter than the outside temperature in the summer heat.

About Hot Car Heat Stroke

Recent tests conducted by experts indicated that temperatures can reach over 125°F in 20 minutes for a vehicle left in the summertime heat. The temperature reached 140°F within 40 minutes which resulted in a temperature increase of over 45° above the temperature outside the vehicle.

Heat stroke can happen relatively quickly in temperatures such as this. Symptoms of heat exhaustion are:

*dark urine

*dizziness or lightheadedness


*damp skin


Symptoms of heat stroke are:

*fever in excess of 104°

*loss of consciousness

*rapid shallow breathing

*weakened pulse


*irrational behavior or confusion

Whether you are exposed to heat in the summertime or in a vehicle without air-conditioning if you are loved one experience heatstroke or heat exhaustion seek medical attention when appropriate. First aid for such conditions includes getting a person in a cool environment and raising the person’s feet, applying wet towels or cool water to lower the body temperature or use cold compresses on the person’s neck groin and armpits.

Sports beverages can also help prevent heat extra exhaustion or you can make a drink by adding a teaspoon of salt per quart of water and have the victim slowly sip cool water, Gatorade or your salted beverage.

For extreme cases of heat exposure or the person is in shock or has bluish lips or fingernails or difficult concentrating call 911 and give first aid as possible.

It is important not to underestimate the seriousness of a heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Every year children die in hot cars and athletes on the practice field. Adequate hydration is a must in the Houston Summers for anyone engaged in outdoor active activities. Consider alternating sports drinks with water to better hydrate your athlete. Always start hydration the night before a sporting event.

Always check your backseat to ensure that your children are not mistakenly left in a hot car.


Greg Baumgartner

attorney greg baumgartner

Greg Baumgartner has practiced personal injury law since 1984. He holds not one but two law degrees and is a graduate of Trial Lawyers College. He is licensed in Texas and Colorado. Mr. Baumgartner has earned a reputation for exemplary results for his clients. And has been preeminent rated for decades and recognized by Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Super Lawyers, Expertise, Newsweek, Houstonia magazine, and many others. He has given educational talks to lawyers and many media interviews regarding personal injury cases.