2 Florida kids left in parked cars die of heat stroke adding to national death toll.
West Palm Beach, FL (JusticeNewsFlash.com)—Florida, known for its scorching heat and sunny days, is the prime environment for accidental hyperthermia (heat-stroke) deaths in children. In one week, two South Florida toddlers were accidentally killed when their parents left their child in the car.
News4Jax.com reported on Wednesday, 20-month-old Bernard Davis, was left inside a pickup truck, parked in the driveway, of his babysitter’s home for nearly two hours before his caregiver realized the toddler was missing. The babysitter, identified as Shantel Wilcher, 38, of Jacksonville, was watching the toddler and four other children, when they returned home from a shopping trip and forgot the toddler inside the pickup truck. Wilcher reportedly retrieved the unconscious toddler form the car, took the boy inside the house, and began administering CPR. Jacksonville Fire-Rescue was dispatched to the home, but unfortunately, the emergency medical technicians (EMT) were unable to revive the toddler. Jacksonville police official’s state, Wilcher was charged with interfering with a lawful investigation. She apparently gave false information to hide the fact she was operating a non-license day car facility in the home where the fatal accident occurred.
The second death of a child in last week happened when a Saturday afternoon in the park turned tragic for a West Palm Beach couple and their 3-month-old baby. CBS reported the child was accidentally left inside the family’s vehicle, on a day of record heat, for nearly two hours. The parent’s claim they were confused who was supposed to take the baby out of the car, both of them thought the other one had taken care of the baby. An autopsy conducted on the 3-month-old, showed the baby died of excessive heat.
The amount of accidental hyperthermia deaths in young children prompted Florida Governor, Charlie Crist, to sign a bill in 2007 that holds parents responsible if they leave their child unattended in a motor vehicle. The bill, Unattended Children in Motor Vehicles Act, is aimed towards people who leave children in parked cars during the summer months. The new law, which states anyone who leaves a child, 5-years-old or younger, inside a motor vehicle unattended, can and may be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) http://www.nhtsa.gov says according to new research, the leading cause of non-crash vehicle deaths in children is hyperthermia. The Palm Beach Post states, nearly 400 children across the U.S. have died from hyperthermia since the mid 1990’s. Some people claim, the law that moved small children to the backseat, to protect them from the impact of airbags in an accident, has made it easier for some parents to forget their children in the car.
NHSTA has provided some safety tips to prevent accident hyperthermia deaths in children:
• Never leave any child unattended inside a motor vehicle.
• Never leave infants or children in a parked motor vehicle with the engine running and the air conditioning on, or the windows cracked.
• Make it a routine habit to look in your vehicle before locking the doors and walking away.
• If you normally bring your child to daycare, and your spouse happens to take the child instead, have your spouse or partner call you to verify the child arrived safely at daycare.
• If you happen to see a child left alone in a hot vehicle, call the police immediately.
o Warning signs of hyperthermia include: red, hot, and moist or dry skin, no sweating, nausea, acting strangely, and a strong rapid pulse or slow weak pulse. Attempt to cool the child immediately and contact 911 or your local emergency medical services.
For additional safety information on how to keep kids safe in and around motor vehicles, please visit: http://www.nhtsa.gov/keepingkidssafe
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Heather L. Ryan, R.N., C.L.N.C- Heather Ryan is a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant with 15 years of experience in the health care industry. Her expertise in reviewing medical records and assisting lawyers with the determination as to whether legal action should be taken provides an invaluable asset to the newsroom. Medical-malpractice, products liability, personal injury and workers’ compensation are some of the recent areas of litigation Ms. Ryan has focused her efforts on. A member of the Florida Justice Association, Heather maintains a long list of certifications and credentials to support her areas of expertise and stays up-to-date with her clinical knowledge working as an emergency room/trauma nurse, at a Level 1, Adult/Pediatric trauma and teaching institution in South Florida.