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Preventing Massachusetts Child Injuries: Rising Temperatures a Reminder to Make Sure Not to Leave Kids in Cars Alone

Leominster authorities are charging Fitchburg resident Ruth Allende with reckless child endangerment after she allegedly left a 5-month-old baby locked in her car in 80 degree weather while at The Mall at Whitney Field in on Sunday.

The infant, who is Allende’s relative, was spotted alone in the vehicle and mall security forced the vehicle doors open to get her out. Police say that Allende made a scene when she saw her vehicle and she claimed that she didn’t leave the girl in the car but that she had lost her in the mall. The baby was taken to a hospital where doctors found that she was unharmed.

Children, Cars, and Hyperthermia
While it was fortunate that the child was not hurt, leaving babies and young children locked in a car-especially in hot weather-can prove catastrophic, even fatal. Our Boston injury lawyers represent families with Massachusetts injuries to minor lawsuits and we are familiar with the serious injuries that can result from hyperthermia (also known as heatstroke) injuries involving kids and cars.

Children bodies are prone to overheating easily (kids under age four are the ones most likely to sustain a heat-related ailment). Should temperatures outside a vehicle hit the low 80’s, even if the window has been rolled down a couple of inches, the temperature inside the car can hit fatal levels in just minutes

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that according to the San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences, in 2011 there were 33 child deaths from hyperthermia. There were at least 49 child heatstroke fatalities the year before. There are also many children that suffer hyperthermia-related injuries (including blindness, permanent brain injury, and hearing loss) after being left alone or accidentally locked solo in cars.

Fitchburg woman accused of leaving infant in hot car while she was inside Leominster mall, The Boston Globe, June 25, 2012

Heatstroke, Kids and Cars
NHTSA Joins Florida Safety Advocates to Highlight Dangers of Child Heatstroke in Hot Cars, NHTSA, June 13, 2012


More Blog Posts:

Three Pit Bull Terriers that Injured 9-Year-Old in Pittsfield, MA Dog Attack Declared ‘Vicious”, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, June 14, 2012
Products Liability: Massachusetts Manufacturer is One of Several Companies to Issue May Recalls to Prevent Child Injuries, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, May 28, 2012
Are Massachusetts Schools Doing Enough to Prevent Student Violence?,
Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, February 29, 2012
If your child developed hyperthermia after ending up alone in a car in hot weather, you may have grounds for a Boston personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today.

We would like to point out that it is never a good idea to leave a young child alone and unattended in a vehicle even when the weather isn’t hot. Car owners also should make sure to lock their cars so that a young boy or girl doesn’t enter the car without anyone knowing that he/she is inside.