While the news is often filled with tragic reports of children being left in cars and suffering heat stroke, they’re not the only ones in danger. Your elderly loved one might say she’s fine being left in the car, but it only takes minutes for the heat in a vehicle to turn deadly.
In New York, summer temperatures can turn a car into an oven. Even leaving a window down does little to prevent heat stroke. The elderly should NOT be left in vehicles, and those with dementia or other cognitive issues must be protected from heat overexposure as well.
How Hot Do Cars Get?
Hot enough to give you heat stroke—a sometimes-fatal medical condition of organ failure when your core temperature exceeds 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures in a car can rise as much as 10 degrees in just 20 minutes, and inhabitants can suffer heat stroke even in a vehicle parked in the shade, with the outside temperature around 80 degrees!
Why Are the Elderly at Risk?
Elderly people are considered “vulnerable” in our society. They have more medical issues, and their bodies don’t regulate heat as well as they once did.
While children are most “at risk” for vehicular heat death, due to their smaller bodies and inability to leave the vehicle, the elderly need to be protected as well. They may underestimate the danger, or be physically unable to leave their seats. Never leave an elderly person in a hot car, even for a few minutes.
The greatest tragedy of vehicular heat stroke deaths? They are all preventable.
Take your elderly loved one into stores with you, even if she protests. If you are caring for someone with dementia, keep an eye on him. Do not leave vehicles unlocked, because he may climb inside a hot car without realizing it. This is especially important to remember, because in cars or other vehicles that have child safety locks, your loved ones may end up trapped inside.
If someone else has failed to take care of your elderly loved one, call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP. We handle elder abuse. Tell us what happened at (212) 986-7353 and one of our knowledgeable personal injury lawyers can help you decide what to do next.