SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A stern warning Monday night from police on the penalties for leaving children in hot vehicles during the summer months.
A woman has been charged with two counts of reckless endangerment of a child after leaving her 4-year-old and 6-year-old children in a hot car while shopping at Walmart in Springfield Sunday night.
Police say it was 89 degrees and the two young children were found in the vehicle with the window only cracked. According to Police spokesman Ryan Walsh, any other similar cases will be arrestable.
Some startling statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; 52 hot car deaths were reported in 2019 and a record 53 in 2018.
We saw our first heatstroke-related death of 2020 this past April. NHTSA says a child’s body temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult’s.
They also state that the temperature inside a car can reach 110 degrees, even when the outside temperature is as low as 57 degrees.
If you see a child alone in a vehicle, make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.
- If the child appears to be okay, attempt to locate the parents; if at a public place, have the facility page the car owner over an intercom system.
- If the child is not responsive and appears to be in distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child—even if that means breaking a window. Many states have “Good Samaritan” laws that protect people from lawsuits for getting involved to help a person in an emergency.
Remember: Kids and hot cars can be a deadly combination. Don’t take the chance. Always look in the front and back of the vehicle before locking the door and walking away. Help spread the word on social media, #HeatstrokeKills #CheckforBaby.
Everyone can play a part in preventing these tragedies:
- Keep vehicles locked at all times when parked to prevent a child climbing in and becoming trapped.
- Teach children that vehicles are not a place to play.
- Never leave a child in a vehicle when running errands, not even for a minute.
- Rolling down a window does little to keep a vehicle cool, and heatstroke deaths have occurred even in vehicles parked in shaded areas.
- Bystanders can also play an important role in saving a life – if you see a child alone in a vehicle, call 911 and get help immediately.