It’s HOT…Don’t Leave Your Kids in the Car!
By now, everyone is aware of just how dangerous it is to leave children in a hot car. But year after year, local law enforcement agencies still receive calls about children left in hot cars. In Arizona, anyone who leaves a child in a hot car could face felony charges in addition to suffering through a horrific tragedy such as the death of a child.
Temperatures in Arizona, especially in the hot summer months, can quickly climb over 100 degrees, and this can be life-threatening to a child who has been left in a car. The internal temperature of a child will rise three to five times faster than an adult’s, so even if the thermometer reads “only” 98 degrees, it won’t take long before a child suffers the consequences. When the temperature inside a car reaches 104 degrees, human organs begin to shut down, and at 107 degrees, death is an all-too-real result.
On very hot days in Arizona, the temperature can climb over thirty degrees in as little as ten minutes.
While it may be difficult for most people to understand how such a tragic mistake could be made, it’s easier than you might think. When a normal routine is disrupted, a parent might forget that he or she has a child with them at all, or think that someone else took possession of the child earlier.
To combat this, the Department of Health has given parents ACT, which hopefully will prevent tragic deaths in the future:
- A – Avoid heat stroke by never leaving a child alone in a car for any amount of time.
- C – Create a reminder. Place a cellphone, purse, wallet, or other valuable in the backseat by the child’s seat to remind you to take the valuable and the child with you when you go.
- T – Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, don’t try to handle the situation on your own; call 911 immediately.
While there is no specific Arizona law dealing with children left in hot cars, parents and caregivers can still face felony charges if they are accused of doing so. The actual charge may vary from a Class 2 felony to a Class 6, depending on the age of the child and if the heat caused injury or death. This can add to a parent or caregiver’s pain if he or she has been the cause of harm, but lawmakers have been forced to press charges as the death toll rises around the country.
In addition to felony changes, parents who have lost their child or seen their child injured from being left in a hot car while in the care of a babysitter may have a personal injury case. If this tragic situation has happened in your family, contact the child injury lawyers at The Husband and Wife Law Team at (602) 457-6222. At our law office, we are family, and we’re ready to fight for yours!
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer