Although, at least for the short term, it appears that Chicago’s intense heat wave has passed, our Chicago personal injury lawyers still want Chicagoans to be safe in the summer weather.
Although the warmer summertime months should, and often do, afford the opportunity for people to get out and enjoy the outdoors, there are a number of concerns that may arise because of the heat and the warm-weather activities.
Initially, warmer weather leads to an increase in physical activity for many people, which in turn may lead to athletically related injuries. Muscles that aren’t used during the winter months are pushed to exertion during a number of activities including running, biking, swimming, and sand volleyball. Common ailments may include such things as strains, sprains, as well as bone fractures. To prevent these injuries, a proper regimen of stretching before and after activities is recommended, in addition to easing one’s self back into activities that have been abandoned for more than a week prior.
In addition to, and coupled with, people pushing themselves and their bodies too hard, dehydration is a serious concern in summer months. When a person does not consume enough water to compensate for fluids lost in exercise or heat, the individual may suffer symptoms such as headaches, decreased blood pressure, thirst, dizziness, fainting, and, in extreme cases, death. Symptoms become increasingly severe with greater water loss, and losses greater than 15% are generally fatal. Especially when the weather is so warm, it’s important to keep hydrated and drink plenty of water.
Finally, our Chicago injury attorneys were particularly concerned to read that a team of experts on behalf of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has just released a report stating that special seats and other devices designed to help prevent parents from accidentally leaving babies and toddlers behind in cars don’t work as well as had been originally hoped. In fact, the NHTSA’s review of 18 commercial devices, including systems integrated into cars, shows that none works well enough to be relied on as a sole cue.
Devastatingly, a recent report by MSNBC shows how often situations occur in which a parent returns to his or her car after a day at work or even a short time running errands to find an unconscious child strapped into the car seat. “Most times, the parent thought he or she dropped the child off with a caregiver, or left the child with someone else. Even on a relatively cool day, the temperatures in a car can soar, and babies have died in as little as an hour,” said MSNBC.
To date, the NHTSA says 527 children have died of heat stroke after being left in cars since 1998. It is an absolutely dreadful outcome, but one that can be avoided with careful behavior.
Representatives on behalf of the NHTSA suggest a number of ideas to help ensure that children are not left behind in the car. Some of these include:
• Leaving a teddy bear or other toy in the front seat as a reminder;
• Putting the parent’s purse or briefcase in the back seat, forcing the driver to open the back door and see the child;
• Setting an alarm on the cellphone to remind a parent to check on the child’s location; or,
• Having a routine with the child’s caregiver.
Although the summer months in Chicago are a wonderful time of the year, devastating accidents can and do occur. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers hope that with a little forethought and preparation, some of these injuries may be avoided altogether.