Florida Child Injury Lawyer :: Look Before You Lock – The Risks & Consequences of Leaving Children Alone in Hot Cars


We rely on our vehicles to get ourselves and our loved ones safely where we need to go, however it can be easy to forget that when you leave a child in the car for too long, the results can be deadly. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the leading cause of all non-crash-related fatalities involving children aged 14 and younger is heatstroke.

Vehicles can reach extreme temperatures very quick, even if you have the windows rolled down. A child’s body absorbs more heat on a hot day than an adult’s does due to the fact that children’s bodies have a harder time regulating body temperature. Heatstroke can happen even in cars parked in a shaded area on days that reach 80 degrees or less. Studies have shown that in temperatures around 80 degrees, a vehicle can become lethal in just 10 minutes.

child in carAs parents and caregivers, it is vital to understand the risks and consequences associated with leaving kids in vehicles, especially hot cars.

Potential Risks

  • In just 10 short minutes, a car can jump up by 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cracking or rolling down a window does very little to keep the car cool.
  • Even with temperatures in the 60s, your vehicle can heat up to temperatures that exceed 110 degrees.
  • A child’s body temperature can climb up to five times faster than an adult’s.
  • Heatstroke can occur even in mild temperatures. In fact, studies show that heatstroke can occur when it is as cool as 57 degrees outside!
  • A child dies when their body temperature reaches 107.

Possible Consequences

  • Death from heatstroke.
  • In the state of Florida, it is considered a second-degree misdemeanor to leave a child under the age of six alone in a car for more than 15 minutes or while the motor was running causing the health of the child to be in danger.
  • This crime is punishable by a fine of up to $500.

How to Avoid a Tragic Heatstroke

  1. Never leave a child alone in a car, even if you need to run a quick errand.
  2. Remind children to not play in an unattended vehicle.
  3. Do not leave infants or young children in a parked car, even if the windows are rolled down.
  4. Place a purse, briefcase or anything else that you will need when you get out of the car in the backseat, so that you cannot forget about a child riding in the backseat.
  5. Make it a habit to look inside your vehicle, both front seat and back, before locking the door and walking away.
  6. If you should see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 right away. If you notice that they are in distress due to heat, it is important to get them out of the car as quickly as possible.

If your son, daughter, niece, nephew or grandchild has suffered harm due to being left in a hot vehicle, please contact a Florida Child Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton today online or call statewide and toll-free at 866-608-5529 for a free consultation to discuss your rights.

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