Q: We had an awful case this spring of a child dying of heatstroke after being left in a car by the mother. I hear of these on the news from time to time, and I wonder how common this is.
A: An average of 38 children die every year of heat stroke from being left in cars, according to KidsandCars.org, which monitors these things.
This year the numbers may, unfortunately, be much higher. During the month of May, seven children died, the group says, and it was not even the heart of the summer, when, traditionally, the greatest number of such tragedies occur.
Officials in Broward County Florida are so concerned about children dying as a result of being left in cars, they launched a billboard campaign on the topic this year.
Most of the incidents happen when a parent or caregiver alters routines or is especially preoccupied, and, completely forgetting that the child was in the back seat, parks the car and goes about his or her business. So one of the tips the group offers is to always put something into the back seat that you absolutely must take with you when you park. When you reach in to get it you’ll be reminded that you’re not alone.
Q: We have a 16-year old who will soon get her license. Among the many defensive-driving warnings we’ve preached is to always look both ways before moving ahead after you’re stopped at the stoplight and you get the green to make sure no one is ignoring the signal they’ve received to stop. This, more than any rule, is the one that bugs her most, because we live in a small town now and people mostly abide by traffic rules. So it seems pointless to her. Are there any statistics you can share about the dangers of red-light runners?
A: Congratulations for trying to habituate in her behaviors that will come in even more handy when she is driving in areas where drivers aren’t as well behaved.
According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, red-light runners caused 762 deaths in 2008. Moreover, an estimated 165,000 people are injured every year by these self-absorbed, my-time-is-so-important drivers.
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