September 7, 2017

Crisis in the Car: The Dangers of Leaving Children in Hot Cars

Categories: Personal Injury

Leaving a child in a hot car unattended is extremely dangerous. Especially in Tampa, the heat on the outside can easily creep to 100 degrees. Inside a car, it’s possible to see temperatures increase significantly.

What are the dangers?

A car can heat up 20 degrees or more in just 10 minutes. A child’s body will heat up three to five times faster than that of an adult. Children also cannot cool down as quickly. They could end up with heat stroke or suffocation. In addition to the heat factor, there is also the possibility of seat belt entanglement as well as self-injury.

Too many children — including here in the Tampa Bay area — have died in unattended cars. Nothing is more tragic. It goes without saying: You should always lock the doors only after everyone is out of the car. NEVER allow a child to be inside of a car unattended, even if it is “just for a minute.”

What happens if your child was in a hot car?

If your child was in a hot car and they are either hot or cold to the touch, you should take them directly to the emergency room. If they are unresponsive, call 911.

Additionally, if someone else was responsible for leaving your child unattended in a hot car, consider contacting a Tampa personal injury lawyer to discuss your options. Leaving a child in a car is a form of child neglect.

How to Seek Legal Help

A child is defenseless, which means that it is up to you to take care of them. Leaving a child in a car is neglectful and has the potential to kill a child. If you entrusted your child to the care of someone who left your child in a hot car, unattended, you should contact a Tampa personal injury attorney and have your case reviewed. Call Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore today and learn more.

What to do as a Bystander if you see a Child Left in a Car?

Unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more common to hear of children being left accidentally in hot cars, which can result in serious injury, or even death. Some experts say that this relatively new phenomenon could be due to the rush of increasingly hectic schedules and foggy minds due to sleep deprivation. Sometimes it may be intentional, but in most cases, it’s not. The Tampa personal injury lawyers of Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore suggest these tips:

What to do if you see a Child in a Parked Car Alone in Florida

If you see any child in a car alone at any time, you should always intervene. The first step is to call the authorities immediately. Stay present and don’t leave the vehicle. The dispatcher will direct you on what to do next to ensure that the child gets out of the car safely. Always proceed with caution when dealing with extreme circumstances. Use your best judgment, and always follow the 911 dispatcher’s directions. The dispatcher will send an officer out to assist you.

Florida State Laws on Unattended Children in Vehicles

In Florida, authorities have the right to enter a vehicle with any means reasonably necessary to remove an unattended child that has been left in a car. According to state laws, children under the age of 6 cannot be left unattended in a car for longer than 15 minutes, or if the health of the child is in danger. Additionally, the car cannot be left running. In Florida, where temperatures skyrocket, it is unsafe to leave any child in a car without running air conditioning, especially in the warmer months. (

If your Child was Injured as a Result of Negligence while in Someone Else’s Care 

A parent’s worst nightmare is their child being neglected or injured while in someone else’s care. If your child was left in a car by a negligent caregiver, seek medical attention immediately, and then contact Tampa personal injury lawyers at your earliest opportunity. Injuries sustained after being exposed to extreme heat may be extensive and may have long-term effects, so it’s important to obtain legal representation immediately, even if your child isn’t experiencing life-threatening problems right away. Call Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore – your Tampa Personal Injury Lawyers – at (813) 225-4000.

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