Every summer we hear the tragic story of a child who has died after being left alone in a car. In some cases, the parent didn’t realize the child was in the car. In others cases, there was a change in schedule and the parent forgot she was there. Sometimes the parents knew the child was in the car, but didn’t realize that even on a cool day, temperatures inside a car can become lethal—even if it’s just for a few minutes.
When I was a child, my siblings and I would stay in the car while my parents shopped. But the safety features on today’s cars make vehicles warmer. Even on a mild sunny day with temperatures in the eighties, the temperature inside a car can reach as much as 125 degrees within an hour. Dark surfaces in the car can reach temperatures of 180 to 200 degrees or more.
Many parents believe that parking the car in the shade and cracking the windows is enough to keep a car cool, but studies have shown that there is actually little difference in temperature between a car in the shade with the window cracked and a car in the sun with windows closed.
A child left unattended in a car will begin to suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke. At first the child will experience severe cramping in the hands, feet, and legs. Muscles will be tense. He may develop a headache. As the child’s thermoregulation system is overwhelmed, he will get nauseous, dizzy, agitated, disoriented, or confused. He will become drowsy and his heartbeat will slow down. He may hallucinate. If he is left in the heat, he will lose consciousness and may suffer convulsions.
If not found in time, the child will die a slow and painful death.
The Green Bay car accident attorneys at Hupy and Abraham urge parents to think twice before leaving their children in the car.
Hupy and Abraham serve accident victims in Green Bay and throughout Wisconsin. To discuss your Wisconsin accident claim, call 800-800-5678.