As temperatures rise, so can dangers to kids and pets locked in hot cars

carsandkids-300x114As the weather turns toasty, it’s worth remembering that common sense and a bit of caution can save the lives of children and pets: Please don’t forget they are in your vehicle’s back seats, and don’t lock them in there with the windows rolled up — even for the briefest moment.

The New York Times reported this, in a timely news article:

As the summer months heat up across America, advocates are hoping to draw attention to the issue [of children dying in locked vehicles] as well as their push for legislation to help address the problem. Dozens of children die of heatstroke each year in cars whose temperatures, even on relatively mild days, can quickly soar past 100 degrees. Many of those children were left behind by a distracted caregiver.

The newspaper said that safety advocates long have campaigned to reduce deaths and injuries caused when kids have been locked in hot cars with spokes people making “appearances on television shows, advertising campaigns, literature and more. Some efforts have included tips, such as putting one’s briefcase or purse next to the child, in hopes of helping caregivers remember the child in back.” Still, the toll hasn’t fallen fast nor far enough: “In 2010, 49 children died when they were left behind or inadvertently trapped in a parked car, a peak at the time. In 2018, 52 such deaths were recorded, according to data compiled by KidsAndCars.org.”

Safety advocates have riled the auto industry and foes of “nanny state” lawmaking by proposing that vehicles be equipped with sensors and beepers or alarms that warn briefly if the back seat is occupied after the engine is turned off. The newspaper reported that “Such technology is already standard on the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Santa Fe, providing an alert if ultrasonic sensors detect child or pet movement in the second and third row.”

Though proponents hope to introduce legislation yet again to push to require vehicle makers to install the back-seat sensor-alarm systems, the newspaper quotes them as saying the chances are slim of this becoming the law.

In my practice, I see the harms that patients suffer while seeking medical services. My colleagues in the firm and I also work with clients afflicted by the short- and long-term damage that can be caused by injuries to babies and children, notably when they and their loved ones may be hurt in various ways in wrecks involving cars, trucks, and motorcycles that may include defective and dangerous products. No grownup wants to be any part of the grievous and avoidable death of a child; no one would want to cause preventable harm to a pet. As we make our way through what, statistically, are the 100 most deadly days of the year for the young, a little mindfulness can go a long ways to keeping kids safer.

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