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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(7), 649; doi:10.3390/ijerph13070649

An Analysis of Children Left Unattended in Parked Motor Vehicles in Brazil

1
Department of Environmental and Health Engineering, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Juiz de Fora, MG 36036-900, Brazil
2
Department of Geography, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-2502, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ian Pike and Alison Macpherson
Received: 3 March 2016 / Revised: 15 April 2016 / Accepted: 26 April 2016 / Published: 7 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Child Injury Prevention 2015)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1356 KB, uploaded 7 July 2016]   |  

Abstract

Our study investigates the incidence of children left unattended in parked motor vehicles in Brazil. These events have been widely explored in the United States but less so abroad, and never in Brazil. Over the period from 2006 to 2015, we collected data from news reports on 31 cases, including 21 fatalities. The circumstances mostly involved a caregiver, especially a parent, forgetting the child (71%), but cases also included the child being intentionally left in the vehicle (23%) or gaining access to the vehicle (3%). Children tended to be forgotten more frequently in fatal cases (86%), particularly on the way to daycare, than non-fatal incidents where circumstances were more evenly distributed between forgetting (40%) and being intentionally left behind (50%). Incidents occurred throughout the country but mostly in the southeastern region near the city of São Paulo. Additionally, the danger for children is present year-round as we observed cases in every season, albeit with a peak in the summer. This heat-related hazard is not well recognized across Brazil and we recommend increasing awareness through education. Further, given the high percentage of cases involving parents forgetting to leave their children at daycare, we recommend arrangements between daycare providers and parents to communicate when a child does not attend as expected. View Full-Text
Keywords: hyperthermia; vehicle; car; children; weather; Brazil hyperthermia; vehicle; car; children; weather; Brazil
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Costa, D.; Grundstein, A. An Analysis of Children Left Unattended in Parked Motor Vehicles in Brazil. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 649.

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