In California, the tragic death of 4-month-old Everett Carey, a baby left in the back seat of a car at the father’s work place, reminds us of how vulnerable we are to the high-cost of human err. News stories report that Everett Carey was pronounced dead at Doctor’s Medical Center in San Pablo after he was found by his mother, Anne Carey, in the back seat of his father, Alan Carey’s car parked at the his work place. The baby was left inside the car all day. News stories report that the baby’s mother went to pick up the child from day care at the end of her work day and was told the infant never arrived in the morning. So she drove to the father’s work place and found the infant still in the back seat of the car.
A witness at the father’s work place says he saw Mr. and Mrs. Carey embrace after finding their infant son in the back seat of the car.
The Keane Law Firm (www.keanelaw.com) represents children that have been catastrophically injured. The tragedy that unfolded for the Carey family should remind us that parents with small children are trying to coordinate family responsibilities and work schedules. Caring and loving parents are at greater risk for being sleep-deprived and distracted while rearing infants and toddlers. This may make them more prone to accidents and injuries during the course of any given day. New families need support from their extended family members and friends. Please reach out and help someone you know that has small children.
Hyperthermia is elevated body temperature and in this case, the baby's body temperature increased because of the environmental temperatures that the baby was exposed to while left in the car. Babies do not regulate their own body temperature or environment as well as older children and adults and that is due to their level of development.
Here are a few safety tips for preventing infants from sustaining injuries or succumbing to hyperthermia in cars: 1) remember infants often fall asleep in car seats during rides and will likely be very quiet – a tired and distracted, caring parent may temporarily forget the infant is in the back seat; 2) cars heat up quickly when sun shines through the windows, even on cool days – it is referred to as the Greenhouse Effect; 3) remember different methods to prevent the danger of leaving a baby in the back seat, such as make a habit to place items in the back of the car, out of reach of baby, so that you have to open the back door and will see the baby before leaving the car (i.e., purse, briefcase or coat); 4) ask your daycare to call you if the baby is not dropped off by a certain time in the morning, especially when sharing responsibility for drop-offs and pick-ups with another individual; 5) and keep an item in the baby’s car seat, so that when you place baby in the car seat, the item is moved to the front seat for you to remember that baby is riding with you, especially when you have errands to run; 6) and most importantly, don’t leave your baby in the car to run errands – you may get unexpectedly distracted and forget how much time has lapsed, the car heats up quickly.