The Danger of Leaving a Child in a Hot Car in Florida
A few parents leave their child in the car. This act may lead to death of the baby. Since the 1990s, many hot car deaths have taken place in Florida. Appropriate precautions should be taken to avoid hot car death.
Average temperature in Florida is 80 degree Fahrenheit (F). Between 1998 and 2012, 61 incidents of hyperthermia or hot car deaths have taken place in Florida. Hyperthermia leads to death of four children every year in the state. Since 1997, hyperthermia contributed to the death of more than 600 children in the country (Null, 2014).
Considerable temperature in the car can cause death of a child. A parent may think that one can leave the child in the car at 72 degrees. It takes only an hour for the temperature in the car to rise by 40 degrees. In some cases, temperature in the car can increase by 28 degrees within 30 minutes.
Temperature increase also depends on the season. During the summer, less time is needed for the temperature to rise. In the winter, it may take more time for the same process. It is not advisable to take the risk even in winter (Mann, 2014).
Along with the rise in car temperature, a child’s body temperature also increases. When the body temperature crosses 104 degrees, the child may exhibit a few symptoms of illness. In such situations, the brain loses its control. The child may exhibit symptoms such as giddiness and seizure. In some extreme cases, a child may lose consciousness.
It may ultimately lead to death of the baby (Mann, 2014). A parent or a caregiver may think that child is safe in the car parked in the shade. Evidences have shown that even at outside temperature of 57 to 61 degrees, children in a car may suffer from heatstroke, suffocation, and hypo or hyperthermia. Children experienced hyperthermia when body temperature crossed 110 degrees (USA Today, 2014).
In most of the cases, parents or caregivers forget that they have left the baby in the car. They may not remember to drop their children at the babysitter or homes. Generally, caregivers fail to check backseat of the car where the baby is kept.
Babies sometimes enter into a car without informing the caregiver. They cannot get out of the car (USA Today, 2014). A father who went to the workplace kept his baby in his pickup truck. He forgot to drop the baby at the babysitter (Kowarski & Gallop, 2014).
By taking a few precautions, it is possible to avoid death of babies in hot cars. Parents should keep their briefcase in the backseat so that they remember to take their babies from the car (Null, 2014). Babysitter caretaker should be instructed to call the parent when the baby is not delivered.
Parents belonging to the low-income group can train children to use the car in an appropriate manner (Null, 2014). Florida statute 361.6135 considers the act as a felony of second and third degree depending on the nature of the offense. According to the rule, a parent is not allowed to leave the child in the car for more than 15 minutes (The Florida Senate, 2014).
Hot car death has emerged as a major challenge for parents as they unintentionally leave their baby in their car. Children kept in the car may suffer from heatstroke and seizures. It is a punishable offense according to the law of Florida.
Kowarski, I., & Gallop, J.D. (2014). .
Mann, D. (2014). Danger: Kids left in hot cars.
Null, J. (2014). Heatstroke death of children in vehicles.
The Florida Senate. (2014). 2011 .
USA Today. (2014). .
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