Tips to Avoid a Car Heatstroke Accident Involving Children 

 April 5, 2016

By  LMW Attorneys

Avoid Heatstroke! Things to Keep in Mind Before Leaving Your Car in the Heat

Cars during the summer months here in Florida can get hot and humid — and fast. A simple run into a store can quickly turn deadly if children, animals or anyone else is left inside the car without a window open or the air conditioning on. Before exiting your vehicle always be sure to take these precautionary measures:

Always Look Before You Lock Your Vehicle

  • Make it a habit to always check the back seats of your vehicle before you lock it and walk away.
  • Keep a stuffed animal or other toys in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat.

Be Ever Mindful of a Child’s Sensitivity to Heat

  • In a matter of a few minutes, a car’s temperature can rise more than 20 – 50 degrees above the outside temperature.
  • Even at an outside temperature of 60 degrees, the temperature inside your car can reach 110 degrees. A child dies when his/her body temperature reaches 107 degrees.

Trunk Entrapment Accidents

Children are naturally curious and love to explore their surroundings. If you leave your kids unattended, in or near a vehicle, it won’t be long before they are playing in it. Hide and seek can turn deadly if they get trapped in the trunk, where temperatures can rise very quickly – resulting in heatstroke or asphyxiation.

Prevention Tips

  • Teach children that vehicle trunks are for cargo, not for playing.
  • Always supervise your children carefully when in and around vehicles.
  • Check the trunk right away if your child is missing.
  • Lock your car doors and trunk and be sure keys and remote entry devices are out of sight and reach of your kids.
  • Keep the rear fold-down seats closed/locked to keep your children from climbing into the trunk from inside your car.

Retrofit Your Car

As of September 1, 2001, auto manufacturers were required to equip all new vehicle trunks with a ‘glow in the dark’ trunk release inside the trunk compartment. Show your kids how to use the release in case of an emergency. If your car is older and does not have the ‘glow in the dark’ trunk release, ask your automobile dealership about getting your vehicle retrofitted with a trunk release mechanism.

Vehicle Rollaway Accidents

With the key in the ignition, automatic transmissions may be shifted “out of park” even if the engine is off. If you leave the key in the ignition and turned to the accessory mode (to listen to the radio, open/close the windows, etc.), your vehicle’s automatic transmission may be shifted out of “Park” if you or a child moves the gear selector. If you leave a child alone in a car, whether the engine is running or not, it doesn’t take long for a child to unintentionally set your car in motion.

Prevention Tips

  • Teach children the dangers of playing in or around cars.
  • Keep your vehicle locked when it is not in use.
  • Never leave the keys in your car.
  • Engage your emergency brake every time you park.
  • Verify whether your vehicle has a Brake Transmission Safety Interlock (BTSI). All vehicles with automatic transmission manufactured after September, 2010 are required to have BTSI.

Power Window Accidents

Children can hurt themselves with power windows. Many are injured when a window closes on their finger, wrist, or hand. Some kids have been strangled by power windows.

Prevention Tips

  • Never leave your children alone in a vehicle for any reason.
  • Teach your children not to play with window switches.
  • All new vehicles will have “pull to close” switches, which require you to pull up on them to close the window. Older vehicles may have window switches that a child can accidentally step or put weight on, easily causing a window to close.
  • Some vehicles have power windows that automatically reverse when an object (such as your child’s arm or neck) is in the path of a closing window. Check both the individual vehicle rating pages on
  • Teach your children not to stand on passenger door arm rests.
  • Properly restrain your children in car seats or seat belts to prevent them from accidentally activating power windows and sunroofs.
  • Look and make sure your kids’ hands, feet, and head, are clear of windows before raising the windows.
  • Never leave the key in the ignition or in the “on” or “accessory” position when you walk away from your car.
  • If available, activate the power window lock switch so that your children cannot play with the windows.

Car Backover Accidents

Many children are killed or seriously injured in backover incidents. A backover incident typically occurs when a vehicle coming out of a driveway or parking space backs over an unattended child because the driver did not see him or her.

Prevention Tips

  • Teach children not to play in or around cars.
  • Supervise children carefully when in and around vehicles.
  • Always walk around your vehicle and check the area around it before backing up.
  • Teach children to move away from a vehicle when a driver gets in it or if the car is started.
  • Have children in the area stand to the side of the driveway or sidewalk so you can see them as you are backing out of a driveway or parking space.
  • Make sure to look behind you while backing up slowly in case a child dashes behind your vehicle unexpectedly.
  • Roll down your windows while backing out of your driveway or parking space so that you’ll be able to hear what is happening outside of your vehicle.
  • Teach your children to keep their toys and bikes out of the driveway.
  • Because kids can move unpredictably, you should actively check your mirrors while backing up.
  • Many cars are equipped with detection devices that provide rearview video or warning sounds, but they cannot completely take the place of actively walking around your car to make sure children are safely out of the way. Do not rely solely on these devices to detect what is behind your vehicle.

Legal Professionals LMW Attorneys in Port Richey, Fla. Can Help

At Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins, P.A, clients will find experienced attorneys whom they can trust with any kind of legal case. Most staff members have been a part of the esteemed law office for many years and part of the Port Richey, Hudson, and Holiday, Fla. communities for much more, so they are more than qualified and knowledgeable in cases like yours.

Reach out to compassionate attorneys online or by calling (727) 478-4125.