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Recent Death of Cape Coral Boy Involved in Hyperthermia Accident a Reminder to Never Leave Children Unattended in Vehicles

It doesn’t take long for a tragedy to occur when a young child is left inside a parked vehicle in hot temperatures. Child hyperthermia accidents Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Davie and elsewhere in Florida are a year-around concern which is why some attention is being given by federal authorities recently.

Hollywood car accident lawyers know that two children have died from hyperthermia in a hot vehicle this year in South Florida. According to the Department of Geosciences, 28 children have died in the United States so far this year but the two Florida casualties happened a short few months ago in July. A 22-month old child died in Homestead and a 14 month-old died in Cape Coral from hyperthermia in an unattended vehicle.
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The News-Press recently reported that the parents of the Cape Coral are being charged with one count each of causing bodily harm to a child left unattended in a vehicle. The boy was admitted to the hospital the day of the accident with a temperature of 108 degrees and was reported to have blistering on the neck and head. The parents could face up to five years in prison.

A town hall meeting was recently held in Tampa by the Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to strategize ways to reduce injuries and deaths of children caused by heat stroke in hot cars. A child’s body temperature can increase 3 to 5 times faster than an adult, which puts them at serious risk of brain damage, organ failure, permanent blindness or other severe injuries. If a child is not discovered soon enough in a hot vehicle it can lead to fatality. Members of the community, health professionals, law enforcement officials, and parents all congregated to discuss how parents and caretakers can avoid these preventable deaths.

“It’s critical for parents and caregivers to know that hyperthermia is a problem that sees no social, economic, or racial boundaries — child heat stroke can happen to anyone,” said Deputy Administrator Medford.

Even with a window cracked as much as two inches, a vehicle’s temperature can reach deadly levels inside within ten minutes when the temperature outside is 80 degrees or higher.

Children, ages four and under, are at considerable risk, more so than other age groups, when left alone in an unattended vehicle in the heat. Small children don’t sweat which is a cooling mechanism that adults have and their small bodies absorb more heat than an adult on a hot day.

There are some things that caretakers, babysitters, parents or other family members watching a child can do to prevent these types of preventable deaths. Prevention tips include:

-Teach a child that cars are not a play area and that they should never crawl inside while unsupervised or to hide from someone else.

-Lock the windows and doors when you park the car at home so that children can’t get inside the vehicle on their own. Keep keys out of reach of small children. Never instruct children to take the keys and wait inside the vehicle before you are ready to leave.

-Children tend to fall asleep while riding in the vehicle which allows you to forget that they are in the backseat of the vehicle. Leave a child’s toy in the front seat with you to remind you that they are in the vehicle.

-If you are highly stressed or distracted by upcoming events in your schedule, make arrangements for someone else to drop off or pick up your child. Stress and distractions can cause forgetfulness or lack of intuitiveness which can lead to leaving a child alone in a hot vehicle unsupervised.

If your child has been severely or fatally injured from heat stroke or a hyperthermia-related accident in Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Plantation or the surrounding areas, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC to discuss your case. Call 1-800-561-7777 for a free no-obligation appointment with an experienced attorney today.

Additional Resources:
Autopsy report released in death of Cape Coral boy left in car, by Thomas Stewart, News-press.com.

More Blog Entries:
Chuggington and the NHTSA Team Up to Help Prevent Child Injury in Vero Beach and Elsewhere, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, October 8, 2011.

Summer Heat Causes a High Risk of Hyperthermia for Children Left in Unattended Vehicles in Palm Beach, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, May 18, 2011.

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