If you are running errands in North Carolina or elsewhere in the South this summer, you should never make the mistake of leaving your child in the car alone.
Temperatures in North Carolina soared above 100 degrees in August 2016, and that can be deadly for a child left in a car for only a few minutes. Even if the temperature is only 72 degrees, it takes only an hour for the temperature in the car to go up by 30 degrees.
If the temperature is 85 degrees, after only 10 minutes, the temperature in the car will be over 100 degrees, even if the windows are cracked open. In 30 minutes, the car’s interior will be 120 degrees. A small child in that car would be in critical condition or dead.
A heat stroke can occur in anyone once their core temperature is 104 degrees. At 107 degrees, cells are damaged and organs fail. A child’s immune system is still developing so they are quick to suffer damage in such heat.
In North Carolina, 24 children died from heat stroke in cars from 1998 to 2015. And across the US in 2015, 19 children have died in hot cars. One of them was in North Carolina in May, when a 9 month old boy in Wilmington was left in a hot car when it was 86 degrees.
Experts caution all drivers to never leave children in a car alone, especially when it is above 70 degrees.
It is very important for parents to remember in the hot summer months that it is grossly irresponsible to leave a child alone in a hot car. Any child who dies in that situation is a tragedy, and the parent or family member who is responsible for it can be held liable in a wrongful death lawsuit by other family members.
The theory of liability would be one of negligence against a family member leaving a child in an overheated car, and negligence and carelessness claims generally fall under homeowners insurance policies.
Hopefully, the public warnings from North Carolina experts and the state government will reduce the chances that these types of avoidable accidents occur this summer.