Now that we are gearing up for another glorious summer season in Bellingham and Whatcom County, it’s a good time to look forward to all the trips to fun activities – and sometimes just toting the kids and pets along for errands. So now is also a good time to revisit some options for keeping kids and pets safe in cars.

First, some laws to know:

 In Washington as in all other states that I’m aware of, children must be fastened in child safety seats. This goes for children eight years of age or younger, or 4’9” tall or shorter. Kids 13 years old or younger have to take a back seat. Those are a few key points to the law; here’s the statute to see for yourself.

No child under 16 is allowed to be left behind in a car with the motor running. And if you leave your pet in a hot car while you run to the store, a police officer is allowed to break your window to release the animal according to this new law. One would assume they’ve got this right regarding kids, as well, which they do – and it doesn’t matter what the weather is doing.

There are apps and devices that can alert drivers to a car being too hot for kids or pets, and now there’s a crash-tested car seat with this built-in ability. Last summer, Wal-Mart and Evenflo teamed up to build this new car seat design. “It has a wireless receiver that plugs into a car’s on-board diagnostic port and syncs with the chest clip that goes around the baby. It does not require the use of Bluetooth, cellular or other devices, the companies said,” according to this CNN article.

Just how hot does a car have to be in order for it to be deadly? When it’s a balmy 75 degrees outside, the inside of the car can reach 90 degrees in just two minutes. Give it an hour, and it’s 120 degrees in there.

More and more, technology is integrated right into products to promote the safety of those who use them. This previous article from my blog talks about the circle of safety  – technology designed to protect all sides of the vehicle in ways that human error might miss.

As you can see, the car doesn’t have to be moving to be deadly. If you are ever injured because of someone else’s negligence or mistake and need help understanding your rights, don’t hesitate to call Bill Coats Law. Bill is the top personal injury attorney in Whatcom and Skagit Counties combined, working with injured people to secure their rights. Contact him today for a free consultation. 

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