For most people, the thought of leaving a young child in the car during the summer is horrifying. Georgia natives understand how hot and humid the environment becomes in the summer. When the temperature outside is 70 degrees, the inside of the car can reach upwards of 113 degrees. If it is up to 100 degrees outside, the inside can climb to 172 degrees. It is no place for a child. But the truth is that parents, babysitters, and other adults often move on auto pilot and either forget children in the back seat or think the kids will be fine for just a few minutes. This carelessness can lead to a child being hurt or killed inside the vehicle. If your child was injured or killed because someone left him or her in the car, contact the Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A.
Children Die Every Year in Hot Cars
Every year an average of 37 children die from being left in hot cars unintended. There have been 685 child deaths since 1998. More than 20 children have already died this year, and 24 children died in hot cars last year. Many of the children are babies, under two years old.
It is a significant problem every year. It occurs because someone forgets the child, leaves the child in the car on purpose, or the child somehow gains access to the vehicle without the adult knowing. The most common time a parent, babysitter, or some other adult forgets a child is when he or she does not take the child to daycare and instead heads directly to work. The risk of forgetting the child is even greater when he or she is asleep in the car seat.
Heat-Related Injuries When Children Are Left in Cars
Many children die from being left in hot cars; some children survive but are injured. When children get too hot, they can suffer from dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Signs of heat-related illnesses include:
- Pale, clammy, or cold skin;
- Feeling weak;
- A fast or weak pulse;
- Seizures; and
Children can suffer brain and organ damage from heat-related illnesses. The brain and organ swell due to the heat, leaving permanent damage that affects the child the rest of his or her life.
Heat stroke is when a child’s body temperature reaches above 103 degrees. He or she will have a rapid pulse, hot skin, and may be unconscious. A child can die when his or body reaches above this temperature. If there are signs of a heat-related illness or heat stroke, the child should receive medical attention immediately.
Tips for Not Forgetting a Child in the Car
Sometimes all it takes are a few little tricks to ensure you do not forget a child when you are in a hurry. If having the child at this time is not your normal routine, it is even more likely that you may forget him or her in the car seat. Here are a few ways to remember:
- Leave your purse, wallet, or cell phone in the backseat. Instead of putting whatever else you need for that day in the front seat with you, set it next to the child in back. You will have to go into the backseat before you head into work or a store to run errands.
- Put your left shoe in back. If you cannot put a back or phone in back, use the shoe from your non-driving foot. You will want to go in the back seat for you show before you head anywhere.
- Use a child-safety car mirror. Many manufacturers make mirrors to hang on the back seat so you can see the child while he or she is in a backward facing car seat. If the mirror is aligned with your rearview mirror, you will see the child every time you glance at the mirror.
- Keep an object in the car seat. Always have a bright stuffed animal or object in the car seat. When the child is in the seat, move the object to the passenger seat. This way when you get out of the car and see the bright object next to you, you remember it belongs in the car seat and you remember the infant.
- Use an app. More than one app has been developed to make sure you never forget an infant in the car. You can try Precious Cargo or Kars4Kids Safety. Both are affordable and user friendly. Once you get used to using an app, you should never forget the child again.
Georgia Personal Injury Law
If you believe a babysitter or other childcare giver was negligent in leaving your child in the car, which caused your child injury, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the individual. A personal injury lawsuit is based on the premise that the individual who harmed your child had a duty of care toward the child and that the individual’s actions breached that duty. That breach of duty was negligent behavior, which makes the individual responsible for the injuries the child suffered.
In court, you and your attorney would have to prove that the adult had a duty of care and that his or her actions breached that obligation.
Georgia Wrongful Death Law
If you lost your child due to heat stroke because another adult left him or her in the car, you may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the individual. Parents have the right to recover the full value of the life of the child after the homicide of their child. Under Georgia law, homicide is the death of a human resulting from a crime, either criminal or negligent, or from defective property. If the parents are married or living together, the right to recover is joint, Divorce parents or individuals living apart both have the right to recover as a parent and any judgement will be divided equally between them.
Call an Atlanta Attorney Today
If your child was injured or killed in a hot car because of someone else’s actions, call the Atlanta personal injury and wrongful death attorneys of Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A. right away. Through a free consultation, you can learn whether you have a cause of action against another individual and your likelihood of recovering damages. The attorneys at Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A. have both medical and legal experience to better able understand your situation.