As we recently reported on our South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working to help raise awareness about the risks of hyperthermia and heatstroke-related child injuries in Boca Raton and elsewhere.
These kinds of accidents, when children are left alone in vehicles, are the number one cause of non-crash, vehicle related deaths for children under the age of 14. The NHTSA’s campaign, “Where’s baby? Look before you lock,” is working to help raise awareness in parents and to help keep kids out of hot vehicles.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Florida is second to only Texas in the number of kids who have died from heat stroke after being left in a vehicle. Over the last 14 years, there have been nearly 550 children who have died in these kinds of accidents. Nearly 60 of these fatalities occurred in the state of Florida.
Our Boca Raton child injury lawyers understand that this campaign is hitting hard in the South Florida area. Safe Kids Worldwide, a General Motors-funded nonprofit effort, is touring the south Florida area and elsewhere to help to raise awareness in parents. Heat can rise to a deadly level in just 10 minutes, sometimes even sooner here in the state of Florida. Norman Collins Sr., a man who lost his grandson last year, is urging parents in the area to never leaver a kid in a car, not even for a few minutes.
“Leaving a window open just a crack makes no difference in the inside temperature of a vehicle,” Kate Carr, Safe Kids president.
Children’s bodies can heat up five times quicker than an adult’s body. When a person’s body temperature hit 107 degrees, results can be fatal.
In nearly 20 percent of the near 550 kids who have been killed in these accidents in the last 15 years, about 20 percent of the kids died after parents intentionally left them in the vehicle. More than half of the accidents were unintentional.
In Broward County, there have been at least 5 known fatal accidents since 1998 resulting from children being left in a car. In Palm Beach County, there have been at least 8 known fatal accidents since 2001.
Palm Beach County was in the spotlight for these kinds of accidents back in 2010 when a 2-year-old died after she was left outside in a van of the Delray Beach day care center. After that accident and her death, the county enacted a law requiring safety alert systems in daycare vehicles that carry more than 5 kids.
Experts suggest that parents keep a reminder, such as a stuffed animal, on the dash or keep necessities in the back seat to remember to look for a child. Remember, if you see a kid alone in a vehicle, call 9-1-1!