The deaths of children

I really don't know a good title for this document.
What I want to do is to lament the tragic deaths of so many children these days,
in particular, those who die while strapped into their car seats in the backs of cars
and then forgotten and left there
while the parent who was driving the car goes off
to his or her work or other appointment.

I do not recall ever hearing of such things happening
when I was a child in the 1950s and an adolescent in the 1960s.
Did they happen then? I do not know.
I first recall hearing about them in the 2000s.

As an example, consider this tragic story:
Maryland father charged in boy’s death in vehicle
by Associated Press
Washington Post, 2014-09-05

A father was charged with involuntary manslaughter
in the death of his 17-month-old son
after he left the boy inside a hot vehicle at a Maryland naval base
for more than six hours, Navy investigators said Thursday.

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court, John Junek, 40,
told investigators that he was supposed to take his child to day care
at the Patuxent River Naval Station on Wednesday, but didn’t.
Instead, he drove straight to his office on the base
and left his child in a rear-facing car seat
after arriving at 8:50 a.m. that day,
the document says.


The document from a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent says
Junek used his vehicle to go to an early-afternoon meeting,
lowering the windows and turning on the air conditioning
because of the hot temperatures.
But he said he didn’t notice the boy inside.
According to the complaint,
Junek realized he might not have dropped the boy off
after his wife called later in the afternoon to ask about the child’s car seat.
Junek discovered the unconscious boy and dialed 911, the complaint says.

By that time, the boy had been in the car for 6 1/2 hours, the document says.
Temperatures at the base reached 85 degrees on Wednesday.
The boy was pronounced dead at the scene
after emergency workers failed to revive him.

Junek had dropped off his 4-year-old son at preschool
before arriving at the base for work and parking his car about 8:50 a.m.,
the document says.

He told the investigator that when he used the car
to get to a meeting in a different building on the base at 1 p.m.,
he was in a hurry and did not notice that his younger son was still in the car seat,
according to the complaint.
He got the call from his wife at 3:20 p.m. and called 911 a few minutes later,
the document says, meaning the boy had been inside the car for about 6 ½ hours.


For some background, here are some articles and reports:

Most important, the government web page:
Prevent Child Heatstroke in Cars

Child deaths in hot cars: 10 key facts
by Lori Grisham
USA Today, 2014-08-06


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.

At least 17 children have died after being left in hot cars this year.
A look at how this keeps happening.

By Sarah Larimer
Washington Post, 2014-08-06

Finally, some music written to lament the deaths of children past:

Lyrics can be found at Wikipedia.

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