Reportedly a 15 month old child was left in a steamy hot car on Sunday while the father and other children went into a restaurant. Luckily someone passing by called 911, avoiding a possible wrongful death. The emergency responders broke the window and took the toddler out of the car unharmed. The father has been charged with child neglect, a felony even though he claimed the child had only been in the car for 10 minutes.
This story has a happy ending for the child as the toddler was rescued before a tragedy had occurred. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on average 25 children die each year from either being left in the car by a caregiver or as the result of getting trapped in the car of their on accord. Their site states that the temperature in a car can raise dramatically in a short amount of time:
When the outside temperature is 83° F, even with the window rolled down 2 inches, the temperature inside the car can reach 109° F in only 15 minutes. “Within the first 10 minutes the temperature in an enclosed vehicle will rise an average of 19 degrees or 82 percent of its eventual one hour rise.” In warm weather, a vehicle can warm to dangerous, life-threatening levels in only 10 minutes.
While the parent may be unconsolable in the loss of a child, the fact is these deaths are preventable if we only check the car for passengers every time we shut the door. We also need to make sure the car is locked when it is in the driveway preventing a child from playing in the car and getting lock in.