Trunk Safety Information for Parents
Trunk deaths are much less common than they were in previous decades, but incidents involving children still occur. According to the Trunk Releases Urgently Needed Coalition (TRUNC), trunk deaths can happen a number of ways, ranging from criminals locking children in trunks, to innocent games of hide-and-seek gone awry. TRUNC has compiled information on types of trunk deaths, injury and death statistics, and safety tips for parents.
Unintentional vs. Intentional Entrapment
Unintentional entrapment can occur during children’s games or exploration, while looking for or retrieving items from a car trunk, or while adults are performing installation or repair work inside car trunks. The majority of known unintentional entrapment deaths have occurred during the months of July and August and in outside temperatures of 85˚F or above.
Intentional entrapment can occur as a part of a carjacking, robbery, ATM hold-up, ransom request, murder/homicide, burglary, rape, kidnapping, assault, child abduction, prank, joy ride or a combination of the above.
Deaths and Injuries Statistics
- At least 260 people, 37 of whom were children ages 14 and under, have died in 229 incidents of trunk entrapment since 1970.
- At least 19 children have died from unintentional trunk entrapment in 13 states from July 1987 to August 1998. All children involved were 6 years old or younger.
- The average age of children who have died in unintentional trunk entrapment incidents is 4 years old.
- Research indicates that children are more likely to die when trapped unintentionally than intentionally.
- Among children ages 14 and under, unintentional entrapments account for 43 percent of all entrapments yet 61 percent of the deaths.
- In both intentional and unintentional entrapments, younger children ages 2 to 6 are more likely to die, and older children ages 7 to 14 are more likely to be non-fatally injured.
- Hyperthermia (heat stroke) or hyperthermia combined with asphyxiation are the most common causes of death associated with unintentional trunk entrapment deaths.
- Cars parked in direct sunlight can reach internal temperatures of 131˚F – 172˚F, even after only 15 minutes in the sun.
- Boys and girls have been victims of trunk entrapment in roughly equal numbers.
- Teach kids not to play in or around cars
- Always lock car doors and trunks, and keep the keys out of children’s sight and reach.
- Supervise young children closely when they are around cars. Be especially careful when loading or unloading the trunk.
- Keep rear fold-down seats closed to help prevent kids from getting into the trunk from inside the car.
Contact An Experienced Child Injury Attorney
At Thomas J. Henry, we have the experience and resources to handle your child’s case. If your child has been the victim of a serious injury, contact our offices. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends.
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