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A Hot Car on a Cool Day

By Kelly Balamuth on August 11, 2017

Brooke, a busy mother of two boys—5-year-old John and 2-year-old Louis—worked full-time as an audiologist and lived in the Mission District with her husband, Mark, a dentist. They were educated, well-informed professionals who handled their respective workloads and joint home life while making it all look easy. The kids were always clean and happy, dinner was always on the table, and they were hip to all the latest parenting trends.

So you’d never think it would happen to them.

One day, Brooke had just dropped off John, who recently started at a new school separate from Louis. That made the morning routine a little different than usual, but Louis slept the whole way, which was a welcome change. That day, Brooke had a morning appointment with a challenging patient, so she was a little preoccupied as she prepared herself mentally. She drove through her usual coffee place for her morning tea, then got to the clinic just in time to go over her patient’s information before the dreaded appointment. An hour later, once her session was over, it dawned on Brooke that she never took little Louis to his day care. She ran out to the car. Her worst nightmare had come true: Louis had suffered heat stroke and passed away.

This heartbreaking story is sadly a familiar one. Yes, even dedicated, loving parents can get overwhelmed and forget that their small child is left in the car. And heat stroke doesn’t only happen on warm summer days. It was a cool Bay Area morning with temperatures in the upper 50s when Louis died. The temperature inside a closed vehicle can rise up to 110 degrees. If a child’s body temperature climbs to 107, that child will die of heat stroke.

That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) has established July 31 as National Heatstroke Prevention day. NHTSA hopes that their focus on the fatal dangers of heat stroke will bring the issue to the forefront of public consciousness and prevent these tragic deaths.

Here are some of the tips they are promoting:

  • Place an item such as your purse or cell phone next to the child. This way, you’ll check the backseat before getting out of the car.
  • Always call your spouse or another relative to confirm that you’ve dropped off your child.
  • Ask that your day care contact you at a certain time if your child is not there.

Through a few simple steps, these harrowing fatalities can be prevented and a wrongful death lawsuit can be avoided. If you have questions or concerns about the legal aspects of heat stroke, contact our team at Balamuth Law today at (925) 254-1234.


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Posted in: Wrongful Death

Attorney Kelly Balamuth was profiled in the
September 2013 Issue of Plaintiff Magazine.

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