Over the course of the summer, more than 30 children have died in hot car-related deaths. What can be done to prevent these deaths?
You’ve probably read or heard about it in the news over the summer. Tragic stories of babies and toddlers being left alone in hot cars, dying. What, if anything is being done to prevent these totally preventable deaths? Unfortunately, there are no federal laws on the books to protect these children. Instead, states are left to implement laws on how long a parent can leave a child in a car alone. Until more serious actions are taken to prevent these deaths, more children are likely to perish, just like a 21-month-old girl recently did near Brownsburg.
Earlier this week, a toddler was left in a car and died around 5:25 p.m. in the 8000 block of North County Road 650 East. According to investigators, the child’s family had “returned home from church in the afternoon and believed that someone had taken the toddler out of the car and put her down for a nap.” When commenting on the situation, Hendricks County Sheriff’s Captain Amanda Goings said, “at this point, it seems to be a horrible tragedy.” She added, “they got the family out of the vehicle. The members of the family out of the vehicle and it was believed that all the children were out of the vehicle and eventually the family members went into the home to nap.”
Hours later, the family woke up and noticed the toddler was nowhere to be found. A search following until the child was found in the family’s Honda Odyssey van. Immediately, the family dialed 911 and “started all life-saving procedures that they could, but were unsuccessful and she was pronounced dead on the scene.”
The day of the incident investigators noted the temperature was 80 degrees. It is important to note that it does not take long for the inside of a car to reach dangerous, even deadly temperatures. In fact, according to HeatKills.org, on an 80-degree day, the inside of a vehicle may feel like 99 degrees or more after 10 minutes. “After 30 minutes, it goes up to 114.”
Goings said, “when you’ve got a vehicle locked up and there is no air coming in or out, the sun’s beating down, it’s obviously going to be much hotter in there becoming a dangerous situation.”
While CPS, the sheriff’s department and coroner’s office are all investigating the incident, criminal charges probably will not be filed. Sunday’s incident isn’t the first in the state of Indiana this year, though. Back on July 9, a three-year-old boy in Evansville died. So far this year, 36 children have died after being left in hot cars, according to KidsAndCars.org.
So what can be done? Oftentimes these deaths are accidental so will laws really help? Perhaps eventually vehicles can be outfitted with special sensors designed to detect when a child is forgotten in a car. There are many different options to help prevent or at least cut down on the number of these tragic deaths. Now we just have to act.