This is one of those stories that is just so tragic. A four-month old baby boy died after being left in his father’s car parked at the Bart Station all day when his father forgot to take him to daycare before getting on the BART train to go to work. (See KTVU.com).
People who read a story like this respond different. It is such a tragedy and some people react with extreme anger at the parent whose negligence caused a baby’s death. Other people respond with sympathy and feel that the parents have suffered enough. Punishment for this negligence varies widely.
Every year, between 25 and 42 small children die after being forgotten in the back seat of a car. In Washington State, there have been two fatalities between 1998 and 2008 compared with warmer states like California (34 deaths), Texas (52 deaths) and Florida (40 deaths) in the same time period.
Children left in cars suffer from hyperthermia when the temperature inside the car soars. Heatstroke occurs when a child’s temperature is 104 degrees or higher. At 107 degrees, the temperature is fatal. Children’s thermoregulatory systems are not developed so their body temperatures rises 3 to 5 times faster than an adult.
I read an article in The Washington Post a few months that called this kind of accident “fatal distraction.” It has happened to people from all walks of life and it has even happened to a pediatrician. Forgetting an infant in a car seat inside a car is a relatively new phenomenon. The statistics dramatically rose after front seat air bags were installed and infant car seats could no longer be installed in the front passenger seat.
In writing this post, I wanted to highlight some safety precautions that parents and caregivers could take to insure their child is never forgotten.
- Install a Cars-N-Kids Car Seat Monitor — this device plays a lullaby when a car has stopped.
- Always put something you’ll need for work on the floor of the back seat near your baby. This might be your employee badge, your cellphone, your briefcase, etc.
- Keep a large stuffed toy in the car seat when the child is not in it. When your child is in the seat, put the stuffed toy in the front seat to remind you the child is in the back.
- Ask your day-car provider to call you if your child does not arrive on a scheduled day.
This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We are a Seattle-based personal injury law firm and we represent people who have been seriously injured due to the negligence of another.