The temperature in Phoenix, Arizona in the summer typically exceeds 105 degrees during the day, putting children in a hot car in risk of injury or death in just a few short minutes. In Phoenix, these dangerous conditions exist nearly year-round. Even in 70 degree weather, a car can reach life-threatening temperatures quickly. According to the National Safety Council, children overheat four times faster than adults. Leaving the window open does not help. Children left inside a vehicle can quickly develop hyperthermia (heat stroke), resulting in devastating injury, permanent brain damage or death.
Never leave kids or pets in a car . . . ever. The windows in a car create a greenhouse effect that heats up the car extremely fast. There is no amount of time that is safe to leave a child in the car. Heat stroke occurs when the body temperature passes 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and it can be fatal.
If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately, advises the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). "If they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible," states the NHTSA's web site. On July 15, shoppers in Houston, Texas, broke a Jeep window to rescue two children, ages 3 and 5, because their mother had accidently locked them in her vehicle.
The public is calling for alarm systems that will let parents know that their children are belted in the back seat when they leave the car. Until alarm systems are in place, it is suggested that you take off one shoe and place it in the back seat, or place your purse, briefcase or tote bag in the back seat to avoid leaving a child in a car inadvertently.
Finally, always keep your car doors locked so a child cannot climb in the car and become locked in when you are not around to rescue them.
Jay Ciulla is a Phoenix personal injury lawyer. He helps the victims of car accidents in personal injury and wrongful death cases and often represents injured children.