What is Michigan’s Law for Leaving Your Child in a Hot Car?
Every time a story of a child being left in a hot vehicle is mentioned, all you seem to hear from those listening is "How could a parent forget their child?" or "I don't see how that is possible?" or "That would never happen to me and my child."
Well, no matter how many parents say it would never happen to them, sometimes it does. As a matter of fact, according to a list compiled by Kids and Car Safety, the breakdown of these tragedies over the past 5 years is as follows:
Hot Car Incidents Reported Over Past 5 Years
2018: This is the year that marked the most fatalities, totaling 54 'Hot Car Deaths.'
2019: There was still a staggering number of deaths, with 53 on record.
2020: An unexpected benefit from the pandemic's restrictions, the number of Hot Car Deaths dropped from 53 to 26 in 2020.
2021: This was the year with the least amount of Hot Car Deaths, reporting 23 total on record.
2022: As the world began to get back to normal, unfortunately so did the number of Hot Car Deaths, reporting 36 total.
What Is the Average Number of Hot Car Deaths Per Year?
The National Safety Council's Injury Facts claims that, on average, 38 children under the age of 15 years old die each year from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle. And, sadly, nearly every state has experienced at least one death of this nature since 1998.
Is There a Penalty for Actions Leading to A Hot Car Death?
Losing a child due to obvious negligence on the part of the parent, or caregiver, is the worst penalty of all. But from a legal standpoint, according to Michigan Auto Law, whether it is illegal to leave a child in the car unattended in Michigan will depend on the age of the child and whether the specific circumstances create an 'unreasonable risk of harm or injury' for the child. (Such as the outside temperature).
If serious physical harm or death results from a child being left alone in a vehicle, the penalty may include 10 years or more in prison.
How ever you look at it, Hot Car Deaths are real, and it only takes one forgetful moment. Although it goes without saying, always be aware. Set reminders, double check, triple check again, and keep our youth/loved ones safe.