Tragedy in Summer: The Danger of Leaving Kids and Pets in the Car Unattended

It’s that time of year, and you’re probably imagining all the time you’ll spend in the pool and grilling out. Although heat is the perfect complement to swimming, two things that don’t mix are hot cars and your children or pets.

Texas Heat: Dangers to Pets and Children

More than 700 children have died in hot cars since 1998, and it is unknown how many pets. Even in comfortable temperatures, the temperature of a closed car in the heat can rise 30 degrees.

The human body goes into heat stroke when it reaches temperatures of 104 degrees. In Texas, the conditions for death when leaving your child or pet in a hot car can happen year round. Even in some winter months, temperatures are far too dangerous to leave your child in the car even for a minute, much less in the scorching heat of summer.

Demonstration by Police Show Scorching Demonstration

Recently in a public demonstration in Waco, police used a dummy to illustrate the dangers of leaving your child in the car even in temperatures that seem fine. “Billy” sat in a child safety seat for more than two hours in a car locked and left out in the heat. The heat outside was 90 degrees, while the temperature inside rose to 160 degrees.

The same day as this demonstration, three Texas congressmen filed a bill requiring car manufacturers to begin using some kind of device to keep children from being left in a hot car. This safety precaution could save hundreds of children throughout the United States.

It may seem like a hassle to remove a child and/or the child’s car seat on a quick trip, but the risk isn’t worth it. For pets, it may seem like a good idea to bring your pet while running errands, but if you plan to leave your car for even a short time, it is best to leave Rover at home.

Busy Schedules, Awful Consequences

Children and pets also die in hot cars because their parents and owners forget to get them out. Our memory is prioritizes information, and if you deviate from your normal schedule, you can forget that your child or pet is in the car. These aren’t bad parents and pet owners; they just misunderstand how the memory works.

Some tricks to make sure that doesn’t happen are to see if your phone or GPS will allow you to set a reminder when your child is in the car. Another trick is to leave something else of value in the back seat with your child, something that you will need for your trip to be completed. This way, even if you forget momentarily that your child is with you, you’ll see your child when you retrieve your item.

Another way these accidents sometimes happen can occur when children are allowed to play in the car unattended, or if they get into the car while it is unlocked without the parents knowing. If the doors close while the child is in the car, they may not be able to get out. Even if they can, they may not recognize they’re in danger until it’s too late.

If you are worried that your child might be left in a car by someone else, it doesn’t hurt to call and check that your child arrived safely if you can’t be there to meet them.

The Law Offices of David Kohm are advocates for the safety of Texas citizens. Summer is a time for travel and fun but if you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, call us for a free consultation at (817) 522-4451 or use our easy contact form on the right side of the page or using our contact page.

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