Consumer advisory warns Washington parents and caregivers of risks of hot car deaths

As the warmer days of summer approaches the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns parents and other caregivers about the extreme danger of leaving children and pets alone in cars.

Heat stroke (hyperthermia) is the number one cause of non-crash car deaths of children under the age of fourteen. Every year, an average of 33 children die from heat-stroke after being left in a car, truck or SUV. Many more children suffer serious injuries.
bellevue wrongful death attorneyIn Washington state because of our average cooler temperatures, we have not had the number of hyperthermia deaths to the degree as hotter states. Texas has had 80 child vehicular hyperthermia deaths between 1998 and 2011, Florida 58 in the same time frame while Washington state only had three.

While one conjures up the image of a deadbeat parent or caregiver when we hear about these kinds of accidental deaths, the truth is that people from all walks of life have lost a child from heatstroke after leaving a child unattended a motor vehicle on a hot day.

Rushed or stressed parents are not the only ones who have accidentally left a child alone in a vehicle. Bus drivers, baby sitters, summer camps and day care centers have occasionally left a child unaccounted for on a bus, in a van or in a car. A forgotten child occurs in approximately 52% of the deaths. In 30% of the accidental deaths, the child gained access to a vehicle and died while playing inside.

The Washington injury attorneys at The Farber Law Group joins the NHTSA in reminding parents to be extra vigilant during the summer months and to talk to their caregivers, babysitters and day camp personnel to insure they are exercising caution and care.

Safety tips to remember:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle even with the windows open or the air conditioning running.
  • Do not let children play in a vehicle ever.
  • Ask your child’s daycare or camp to call you if your child does not arrive on time.
  • Check your vehicle before locking and leaving it.
  • Place reminder like a teddy bar or a child’s diaper bag in the front seat to remind yourself that your child is in the vehicle. Or, leave your purse or cell phone in the rear seat as a reminder.
  • Keep your vehicle locked when parked and the keys out of a a child’s reach.
  • If you see a child unattended in a hot car, call 911 immediately and go to the aid of the child.


This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and families with their wrongful death claims.