The summer months in Ohio can be hot, with temperatures easily reaching into the 90s on some days. This means that there is a significant risk of heat injuries if proper precautions are not taken.
Our Columbus injury lawyers know that one of the most common and devastating causes of fatal heat-injuries occurs when a child is left in a hot car. Unfortunately, this occurs every year and kids lose their lives when parents, daycare providers, school bus drivers and other caregivers make a deadly mistake and forget children in the backseat. Now, a campaign called Safe Kids Worldwide aims to prevent these types of tragedies from occurring, even as kids have already lost their lives this year.
Kids in Danger in Hot Cars
According to the News and Sentinel, an Ohio principal was thrust into national headlines several years ago after accidentally leaving her two-year-old daughter asleep in the back car seat while going into work for eight hours. Temperatures inside of the car reached up to 100 degrees and the little girl's body became too hot to cool down, resulting in her death.
This Ohio case was a high profile example but it was not the first and not the last instance where a child was accidentally left in a hot car and lost her life because of it. In fact, in the United States, an average of 38 kids every year die due to being left unattended in hot cars.
It takes just a few minutes for kids to fall victim to this terrible fate, with sunlight coming through the window of a car raising the temperature as much as 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. When the weather is just 60 degrees, the inside of a car could easily reach 110 degrees. If the weather is hotter- as it so often is in Ohio summers- then the temperature can climb even quicker.
Kids, who are less able to regulate their body temperature, can begin to suffer permanent damage very quickly. Once the temperature of the body reaches 104 degrees, the organs will start to shut down. If a child survives, the child may experience permanent brain damage, blindness, or cognitive impairments. When the child's body temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child can die.
This type of tragedy typically occurs not because parents or caregivers intend to leave their child inside of a sweltering vehicle, but because mistakes are made and the child is forgotten. A parent who switches his morning routine or who becomes distracted might forget a child sleeping in a car seat behind them. A school bus driver or daycare van driver might fail to do a head count and not notice that a young child has not gotten off of the vehicle. These caregivers may be otherwise well-meaning and may simply make a careless and fatal mistake.
Safe Kids Worldwide recommends that parents remind themselves to check the back seat by placing their briefcase, purse or cell phone back there with their kids. School bus drivers and other professional caregivers should also come up with a system to ensure that all kids are off of the bus or van so they can avoid legal liability and save a life.
If you or a loved one was hurt by negligence in Ohio, call the Smith Law office today at 800-930-SCOTT to schedule a free consultation.