Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hot Cars are Death Traps: Babies Left in Cars Will Die From Heat - Miami's Dominicue Andrews Tragedy One More Example

Every year, babies die from heat stroke after being left in a hot car. And while the Miami Dade medical examiner has not released findings yet, it appears that the tragic death of little Dominicue Andrews, 22 months old, may be added to those statistics.

Dominicue Andrews was pronounced dead earlier this week after he was discovered near a van parked outside his daycare, the Jomiba Learning Center. His parents have announced that they will be suing the daycare facility.

This is a national problem. And, responsible personal injury attorneys applaud the efforts to educate the public and to help busy parents in eradicating this modern-day dilemma - no one wants to hear of a baby dying, and no one wants any parent to have to deal with the aftermath of this situation.

According to one study, a baby dies from heatstroke after being left in a hot car EVERY TEN DAYS in this country. There are even more instances of near-death accidents, where babies are found before heatstroke has caused them to perish in the hot sealed environment of a motor vehicle.

How does this happen?
  • Sometimes the parent forgets that the child is in the backseat, drives to work, and leaves the child in the car for the entire workday;
  • Sometimes caretakers forget a little one is in the hot car and cannot exit the vehicle on his/her own;
  • Sometimes the child manages to get inside the car through an unlocked door or open window and then cannot get back out of the vehicle.
Efforts to Stop These Kinds of Infant Deaths
Several efforts have been undertaken across the country to fight against these horrific deaths. There have been media campaigns designed to make everyone aware of the dangers of babies left in cars -- not only to help parents but to encourage all of us to check the cars in the parking garage or mall parking lot for babies in the backseat.

NASA developed the "Child Presence Sensor" - a mechanism that alerts parents when babies are in the vehicle.

And, personal injury wrongful death lawsuits have been filed - as it's suggested will happen in the Dominicue Andrews case - to pursue justice in infant heatstroke deaths. There are those that argue these cases are just for money but that's not true.

Wrongful death litigation serves society by not only focusing upon circumstances that need to be changed, but (though "punitive damages") providing an example to an industry that better consumer safety protections are just and right to implement.

By suing one day care, for example, maybe the lives of babies in the future will be saved because caregivers across the country will institute car checks, vehicle monitors, or other safety checks to insure that toddlers are not inside a hot vehicle during their watch. (If only to avoid being sued themselves.)

Our sincerest condolences to the family of Dominicue Andrews and all others who have lost little loved ones in this sort of tragic way.

By Bryant Esquenazi on July 14, 2011 1:48 PM

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