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The Science & Statistics Behind Hot Car Deaths

Discussion in 'Cooper Harris' started by Salem, Jul 5, 2014.

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  1. Salem

    Salem Former Member

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    A lot of research was done on children left in hot cars, statistics and other information. I'll try to find some of those older posts and move them here.

    Please add new discussion/resources here.

    Thanks,

    Salem
     
  2. Migmuu

    Migmuu Active Member

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    This is a horrible case but, if there's one good thing it has brought about, it's more awareness about hot car deaths.

    Anyways, first off, you should understand how and why cars get so hot.
    There's something called the greenhouse effect that you usually hear about in relation to global warming, but it applies to this too. The greenhouse effect is when natural heat-trapping gases hold on to the infrared radiation given off by the sun.

    Ever wondered why greenhouses are made out of glass? Well, that's because it keeps the light in but reflects the infrared radiation, and that radiation can't escape. That allows the greenhouse retain all that heat, which, in turn, allows the plants within the greenhouse to thrive.

    Obviously, IR doesn't differentiate between a greenhouse and the glass windows on your car. So, when your car is parked and the light comes in, the whole interior of the car reflects infrared radiation. Problem is, the radiation cannot escape, and that causes the car to heat up significantly. It can also happen very quickly, and that's what makes it so deadly.

    Some stats:

    USA Today's 10 facts

    The main takeaways are:
    1. On average, 38 American children die each year since 1998. Since 1998, 619 children have died from heatstroke in a vehicle.
    2. Over 70% of cases involve a child younger than 2 years old.
    3. Over 50% occur because the parent forgot the child in the car. 30% occur because the child getting in the car without the parents' knowledge. The remaining 20% are due to parents leaving the kid in the car intentionally (which DOES NOT mean murder, it just means they probably went to run errands and underestimated the heat).
    4. A car can heat up 20ºF in 10 minutes, and can even reach a total temperature of 110ºF when it's only 60ºF outside!
    5. Cracking open the windows or parking in the shade DOES NOT cool down the car enough to not pose a danger.
    6. Children's body temperature increase much faster than adults - even 3 to 5 times faster. That, along with the fact that most of these kids are too young to open the door by themselves to get out, is why hot cars can be so deadly.
    7. Heatstroke can occur when the body's internal temperature goes over 104ºF. Getting to 107º or higher is deadly.

    GGWeather fact sheet

    The age range for all the kids who've died since 1998 is 5 days old to 14 years old.
    2011 - 2013 shows a 10-fold increase in car-related heat deaths in children since the early 1990s. This is because airbags are so common now and it's no longer customary to keep your baby in the front seat like it was before. Now, since the kids are in the back, it's easy to forget them.

    Legal
    • Only 20 states have laws dealing with leaving a kid in a car alone.
    • Charges were filed in about half of all cases, with 81% ending in a conviction. When it came to babysitters and other paid caregivers, the conviction rate was 96%.
    • Only 7% of these cases involved a parent who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
    Medical
    • Signs and symptoms of heatstroke include dizziness, irritability, confusion, seizures, lethargy, hot and red skin that is not sweaty, unconsciousness, rapid heartbeat, disorientation, seizures and hallucinations.
    • At an internal temperature of 107ºF, cells begin to be damaged and internal organs start shutting down.

    2012 CNN article
    A baby can die of heatstroke within 15 MINUTES of being in a hot car on a 75ºF day.

    Some more sources:
    Pediatrics.about.com
    Washington Post article
    http://www.kidsandcars.org/heatstroke.htmlKidsandCars


    GRAPHICS

    States w/ ''Unattended Child in Vehicle'' laws
    [​IMG]

    Map of heat deaths since 1998
    [​IMG]

    Car heatstroke deaths per year
    [​IMG]
     
  3. princesspjs

    princesspjs .

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    Incredible reenactment of a scenario and the consequences of forgetting your baby in a car.


    [video=youtube;XNDWN8KDVSM]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNDWN8KDVSM[/video]
     
  4. popsicle

    popsicle faith hope love

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  5. greenpalm

    greenpalm I don't say much unless I've really thought it thr

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    ETA: this article was JUST published on June 3rd of this year. I had read it when a friend posted it on Facebook, and thought of it immediately when the Cooper Harris story hit the news.

    This is not "science" but it's a blog post written for Salon by a mom who left her 4 year old in the car while she ran in a store for a moment, and was prosecuted:
    http://www.salon.com/2014/06/03/the_day_i_left_my_son_in_the_car/

    He was not injured or harmed in any way, but the trial and her side of the case are interesting.

    I was sympathetic to her. I saw her side of the story. I understand why she did what she did that day.
     
  6. liltexans

    liltexans Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Risks

    •In 10 minutes, a car can heat up 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
    •Cracking a window does little to keep the car cool.
    •With temperatures in the 60s, your car can heat up to well above 110 degrees.
    •A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s.
    •Heatstroke can happen when the temperature is as low as 57 degrees outside!
    •A child dies when his/her temperature reaches 107.

    Consequences

    •The heat-related death of a child
    •Misdemeanor with fines as high as $500 — and even imprisonment — in some states
    •Felony, depending on the state, if bodily harm results from leaving kids alone in a hot car
    •Note: The age of children who can be left unattended in a vehicle varies from state to state, as does the duration of time a child can be left alone in a car.

    Prevention Tips to Avoid a Tragic Heatstroke

    •Never leave a child alone in a car.
    •Don’t let your kids play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them that a vehicle is not a play area.
    •Never leave infants or children in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially open.
    •Keep a large teddy bear or other stuffed animal in the car seat when it’s empty. Move the teddy bear to the front seat when you place the child in the seat as a visual reminder.
    •If you are dropping your children off at childcare, but normally your spouse or partner drops them off, have your spouse or partner call you to make sure they were not left in the car.
    •Become vigilant about looking in the vehicle before locking the door. Always look front and back before walking away — always!

    http://www.safercar.gov/parents/heatstroke.htm
     
  7. liltexans

    liltexans Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The recent death of Cooper Harris, a 22-month-old child left in a hot car in Georgia, has drawn attention to the risks of leaving children unattended in vehicles. USA TODAY Network compiled 10 facts about child deaths in cars caused by heat stroke.

    1. An average of 38 children have died in hot cars each year in the USA since 1998.

    2. Since 1998, 619 children have died in vehicles from heat stroke in the USA.

    3. More than 70% of heat stroke deaths occur in children younger than age 2.

    4. More than half of heat stroke deaths occur because a caregiver forgot the child in the car.

    5. Roughly 30% of heat stroke deaths occur because the child got in the car without a caregiver knowing and couldn't get out.

    6. Nearly 20% of deaths occur because a caregiver intentionally left the child in the car.

    7. Cars heat up quickly. A vehicle can heat up 20 degrees in 10 minutes.

    8. Cracking the windows or not parking in direct sunlight does not make a car significantly cooler. Heat stroke deaths have occurred even when the vehicle was parked in shade.

    9. A car can reach 110 degrees when temperatures are only in the 60s. Heat stroke can take place when the outside temperature is as low as 57 degrees.

    10. The body temperatures of children can increase three to five times faster than adults. Heat stroke begins when the body passes 104 degrees. Reaching an internal temperature of 107 degrees can be deadly.

    http://www.firstcoastnews.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/03/hot-car-child-deaths/12135159/
     
  8. K_Z

    K_Z Verified Anesthetist

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    What exactly happens to a child trapped in a hot car? The child experiences acute vehicular hyperthermia. This is a particularly painful and gruesome way to die, IMO. I will put layperson definitions into this quote.

    Basically, children die of cardiovascular collapse, which occurs rather rapidly.

    http://www.jems.com/article/patient-care/how-treat-vehicular-hyperthermia-childre
     
  9. K_Z

    K_Z Verified Anesthetist

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    Discussion of the death of a 17 month old from vehicular hyperthermia in the Carribean.

    http://www.ctntworld.com/cnews2/ind...st-baby-jaden-died-of-hyperthermia&Itemid=707
     
  10. la_cavalière

    la_cavalière New Member

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  11. K_Z

    K_Z Verified Anesthetist

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    On another thread, someone asked if paramedics can pronounce death. This is kind of a science-y, medical-y topic, so I thought I'd post here.

    Most paramedics without a ride-along doc can "declare" death at the scene under limited circumstances. This is not the LEGAL pronouncement of death, but rather the judgement that a person is beyond all hope of resuscitation. This allows paramedics to have the purpose of declaring death so that they may withhold the initiation of resuscitation for people who are quite obviously dead, and also turn their efforts and resources toward those victims who can be resuscitated.

    The allowances for paramedics to "declare" death varies state to state, and also are written into policies and standing orders from the physician medical directors for each paramedic unit.

    Most paramedics can declare death (without taking time to verify with the base hospital doc), for the purpose of withholding life saving resuscitation procedures, or terminating efforts of bystanders for limited situations such as these:

    - Decapitation
    - Complete asystole, with visible brain matter from a severe head injury
    - Severe trauma with asystole at the scene (*see comments below)
    - Abdominal transection, complete (a person is cut in half)
    - Rigor mortis
    - Livor mortis
    - Advanced decomposition, such as skin slippage, bloat, etc.

    (There is still documentation by the paramedics of the condition of the victim, and whatever reasonably appropriate measures they took to verify death, such as the absence of a pulse, or asystole via ECG. Decapitation would not require a pulse check or ECG verification, for example.)

    Instances at the scene where there is asystole (documented by ECG in several leads) after a robust and prolonged resuscitation attempt at the scene, and evidence of severe trauma (such as a GSW to the chest or head) will also usually allow paramedics to abandon resuscitation efforts. (The statistical survivability of severe trauma with asystole at the scene, is near zero. About the only exceptions are GSW or severe trauma right outside the door of a level one trauma center, with a prepped and ready heart lung machine and crew standing by. And even then it's almost zero.)

    For things like children with hypothermia from drowning or falls thru ice, paramedics will typically NOT declare death at the scene if the accident has been very recent. There is an adage in pediatrics that a child of drowning or hypothermia is not dead until they are "warmed and dead". They will transport with CPR and resuscitation in progress.

    For situations of witnessed collapse (heart attacks, etc), those are more "gray" areas that require continuous communication with the base hospital to determine if life saving efforts will be continued, once asystole is reached.

    If a patient is dead at the scene, they are not always transported to a hospital. That depends on circumstances (accident, possible crime, expected hospice death, etc), capabilities of the region, and the directions of the ME/ coroner's office. (Joypath can elaborate more on this.)

    Being "declared" dead at the scene by a paramedic is for purposes of initiating, withholding, or terminating resuscitation measures AT THE SCENE, ONLY. It is not the same as a "LEGAL" determination of death. Paramedics do not sign death certificates, or "pronounce" death.

    Hope this helps!

    A few links to power points and state statutes:

    http://m.authorstream.com/presentation/kwidmeier-1150213-kentucky-paramedic-determination-of-death/

    http://codes.ohio.gov/oac/4731-14

    http://statutes.laws.com/alaska/title-18/chapter-18-08/sec-18-08-089

    http://www.med.ohio.gov/pdf/rules/Pronouncement of Death complete.pdf

    http://ems.dhs.lacounty.gov/Program...terials/ParaAccredMat/Pol_Rel_Death_Dying.pdf

    *Warning- graphic photos in next ppt link.

    http://www.woofmedic.com/Determination of Death EMS May 20 2007.ppt
     
  12. K_Z

    K_Z Verified Anesthetist

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  13. Chewy

    Chewy New Member

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    This is a post I posted on June 26 2103 about another case of hot car death

    When I posted it, I was immediately reamed (elsewhere) for being cruel in my thinking and crazy, because no parent would deliberately do this to a child. I have advocated the possibility that not all these deaths are accidents for years and years and years and been shot down as "paranoid" all the time. The discussion then turns to the articles posted above and sympathy for the poor grieving parents who have "suffered enough."

    In my opinion, had Detective Stoddard not had a background in child abuse, Harris may very welll have gotten away with this crime. Even if he had been prosecuted for negligence he would have gotten off with a slap on the wrist.

    IMO we need to reexamine the way we look at these cases as potential murders. I do not believe that all of these cases are accidents or bad parenting. I think there are many more cases of people who have murdered their children this way and gotten away with it.


    For example, I always suspected that Casey Anthony did this to her daughter. I think she hid her body in the trunk of her car and left her there in the hot sun to kill her after sedating her and placing duct tape across her mouth. But something went wrong in her plan and she realized that they'd be able to tell she had deliberately done it, so she got rid of the body. JMO
     
  14. NancyA

    NancyA New Member

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    She could have been the parent and told her son NO at any point: NO You can't come to the store. Once at the store NO you can't stay in the car. NO headphones if you insist on staying in the car. This wasn't a dire emergency run to a pharmacy for some necessary medication, there was no exigent circumstance for her to leave her child in the car - it was for headphones you can buy at the airport for crying out loud. I'm sorry I have no sympathy or patience with this woman, this whole piece is a long, overwrought tale of over-indulgent parenting, self-pity and blame-evasion. She broke the damned law but appears to think she is so special and her circumstances were so special she should get away with it.
     
  15. hopingicanhelp

    hopingicanhelp Well-Known Member

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    Greenpalm: I was sympathetic to her. I saw her side of the story. I understand why she did what she did that day.

    Greenpalm, I often feel the way you expressed yourself in this post -- I try to understand the perspective of all involved parties and I can get easily (emotionally) involved.

    Here is my concern -- when we let our feelings prevent us from holding people accountable, it opens up a huge can of worms; it's a slippery slope. I agree with Nancy above -- ultimately it's Mom's responsibility to make sure the law is followed and that there is NO room for error/accidents, etc, involving your children. Her child was safe BUT many things COULD have still happened. The car could have been stolen with him in it; he could have been kidnapped; he could have decided to get out and wander in to the store & been hit by a car -- any number of things COULD have happened; thankfully it didn't; but she still left her child alone in the car.

    We need to charge parents when they break the law and let the investigative chips fall where they may -- our emotions in cases like these are better suited for education/prevention -- and in the case of an arrested parent, it can be helpful for LE & courts to perhaps be sympathetic to a mother like this during bond hearings and sentencing phase. We can't let our understanding get in the way of our judgment, and we can't give a "pass" to those who plan to use past cases and our emotions against us when they want to hurt their children.
     
  16. NancyA

    NancyA New Member

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    Great post! Wow. Wish I'd said all that!!

    Just want to clarify a couple of things though, a couple of reasons my sympathies do not go to this mother in particular. One is because of an impression I get that rather than discipline her children she'll go out of her way to appease them to avoid meltdowns. The clues are there in everything she said when 'reasoning' with the four year old she knew hated shopping : she thought he'd have a tantrum so she gave in and let him come with, then again, when they got to the parking lot, all the kid had to do was look like he'd throw a hissy if she made him go in the store and she's caving rather than dealing with it. IE she chose to deliberately endanger her child rather than deal with OR correct his bad behaviour. My other reason is that I also get a feeling of condescending superiority from her, like she's somehow better than all those other parents who get caught doing wrong and therefore above the law.
     
  17. Chewy

    Chewy New Member

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    Personally I think parents who leave their kids in the car react one of two ways, total defensiveness when the kid lives and throwing themselves on the mercy of human forgiveness if the kid dies. They play the "worst thing that ever happened" card and people eat it up like Pecan Pie.

    I think that there's always more to the story with the parents in these situations.
     
  18. stillwatersc

    stillwatersc Well-Known Member

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    http://knowbefore.weatherbug.com/20...ck-backseat-children-hot-cars-fatal-mistakes/

     
  19. KristinSchmistin

    KristinSchmistin *Awesome* User

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    I personally can't understand forgetting my kid. But that's not to say I believe I am a totally infallible person/parent so I put certain safeguards in place despite being a watchful/mindful parent and on top of things. For the same reason I use baby gates, outlet covers, life jackets, car seats, I also do the stuffed animal/car seat thing, keep diaper bag up front, leave my purse in back, even when the kids aren't with me I always leave my bag in back.

    Do I think I would ever forget? Hellllll no. But would I even chance it? Nope not even a little.

    Www.kidsandcars.com

    Awesome stats, safety tips, and infographics on hot car deaths

    I hope this image posts right...


    [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone
     
  20. Linda7NJ

    Linda7NJ Active Member

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    Another one:
    Thankfully both survived!

    A story from AP Mobile:
    Police: Md. woman charged after leaving son in car
    GAITHERSBURG, Md. (AP) - Police say a Maryland woman has been charged after leaving her 7-year-old son and puppy in a car while shopping.

    Television station WJLA-TV (http://wj.la/1mlUVcW ) reports 30-year-old Joshalin Evans of Rockville is now facing three felony counts. The station says a shopper noticed the child and dog in the car Monday at Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg and called 91...

    Read Full Story





    Download the free AP Mobile for iPhone and iPad from the App Store today! Also available for Android in the Google Play Store. Visit getapmobile.com for support on Blackberry, WP7 and other devices.


    Sent from my iPhone


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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