A 29-year-old mother is facing charges after police claim she left her two children inside a vehicle while she went to work at a bar.
According to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, the woman clocked in for her job at a bar in Trinity around 6 p.m., leaving a 1-year-old and 7-year-old child inside her vehicle. The car was running at the time, according to reports.
Deputies said the children were left unattended for approximately two hours while the woman was inside the bar.
The woman was transported to the Land O’ Lakes Detention Center and is charged with child neglect and possession of drug paraphernalia.
This case brings up just how important it is to not leave children unattended in hot cars. Not only could parents face criminal charges, but children could suffer severe harm and even possible death.
According to NHTSA data, there were at least 44 children killed in 2013 after being left inside of unattended cars. An unknown number of other children suffered moderate to severe injuries that same year. This is concerning because this is a higher number of fatalities than average. Since 1998, an average of 38 children have died each year after being left in hot cars.
It does not take very long for a child to be permanently injured as a result of being left inside a car. When temperatures are in the low 80’s outside, it takes just 10 minutes for the temperature inside of a vehicle to reach a deadly level. And cracking a window does not help, as a car can still reach deadly levels after just minutes where the window of the car has been rolled down two inches to allow air to come in.
Young children are at risk not only because cars can get hot so quickly but also because their bodies are not as well-equipped to regulate heat. Children’s bodies can overheat more quickly than adults do because their bodies can heat up between three and five times faster. Children under the age of four are at the greatest risk of getting sick or dying from heat-related illness. If their bodies reach 107 degrees, they will die.
Despite the risks of leaving children in hot cars, up to 14 percent of parents admit to leaving a child alone inside a vehicle. For parents of kids 3 and under, the percent of parents leaving their kids in cars increases to 23 percent.
Children should never be left alone inside of a hot vehicle, whether by mistake or on purpose. If your child has been injured or killed after being left unattended in a vehicle, a Pasco County Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you understand your legal options. Call us today at 727-847-2299 or contact us online for a free consultation.