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Summer heat causes a high risk of hyperthermia for children left in unattended vehicles in Palm Beach

Temperatures rise high during the summer months, so caregivers, babysitters and daycare centers should be aware of the risk of children suffering from hyperthermia in Miami, West Palm Beach, Margate and elsewhere throughout the state. Children under 14 are most at risk of hyperthermia when left in a vehicle alone, which is a common cause of death for children throughout the country.

Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys know that hyperthermia often leads to more serious symptoms like heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or heat-related illnesses, which can be fatal. Keeping the body cool is often achieved by sweating, but small children don’t cool as easily in most cases. Life-threatening temperatures in idle vehicles can be reached pretty quickly. Child caregivers of any type have a responsibility to keep your child safe. Schools, daycare centers, babysitters and au pairs could be considered negligent if your child experiences a heat-related illness under their watchful eye, so contact a legal professional to get all your questions answered.

The Department of Geosciences reports on hyperthermia deaths of children in vehicles. The department reports two heat-related deaths in 2011 from children left in cars. In 2010, there were 49 fatalities. From 1998 until 2010, 496 children died from hyperthermia after being left in an unattended vehicle. There are three leading circumstances in which children have been left in the vehicle unattended. It has been found that 51 percent of deaths (253 children) have occurred because the caregiver forgot the child. In 30 percent of incidents (150 fatalities) children were found playing in an unattended vehicle. Sadly, 17 percent of fatalities (86 children) were when a child was intentionally left in the vehicle by an adult.

Last year, Florida reported six hyperthermia deaths of children left in vehicles. In 2009, there were nine reported heat-related deaths of children in vehicles. Florida is the second most dangerous state behind Texas in reported child vehicular hyperthermia deaths. From 1998 to 2010, Florida reported 56 fatalities, while Texas reported 71.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following tips to reduce the risk of hyperthermia:
-Call a local emergency number or 911 if you see a child left alone in a vehicle without supervision.

-Cool the child quickly if you see any of the following symptoms: red, hot or moist skin, nausea, slow weak pulse, rapid heartbeat, or an inability to sweat.

-Children should never be permitted to play in or near unattended vehicles.

-Always check the front and back seat before locking your door and walking away.

-Instruct the school or daycare center to call you if your child does not arrive on time.

-Never leave your child alone in the vehicle while you run an errand. Cracking windows or leaving the air conditioning on still puts them in danger if left unsupervised.

Hyperthermia is a serious danger when children are left alone in vehicles as the average temperature inside the vehicle is typically 20 to 30 degrees hotter than the outside temperature. The costs associated with treatment of a heat-related illness can be unbearable, so contact an experienced child injury law firm to help get you the compensation you deserve if your child suffers a heat-related illness at school, church or daycare center.

Freeman, Mallard, Gonzalez & Sharp are an experienced team of personal injury lawyers who are dedicated to fighting for the rights of victims and their families in West Palm Beach, Miami, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale. Call for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights at 1-800-561-7777.

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