Child Deaths From Hot Cars On The Rise

July 28, 2007

An Associated Press analysis has found that there's a wide disparity in punishment of adults who leave kids in hot cars.

Since the mid-1990s, the number of children who died of heat exhaustion while trapped inside vehicles has risen dramatically to around 340 in the past 10 years. The increase correlates to the time when parents began putting kids in the back seat to protect them from air bags.

The analysis found that mothers are 26 percent more likely to do time for their conviction. Baby sitters are more likely than parents to be charged and convicted than parents are. Charges are filed in half of all cases, even when a child was left unintentionally.

The analysis found that July is by far the deadliest month, accounting for nearly a quarter of the total. Already this year, at least 16 children have died in hot vehicles from Hawaii to Virginia.

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