Here’s some horrible news: on Saturday a 19-year-old woman from Central Texas left her two and one-year-old daughters in a hot vehicle for 15 hours, causing their deaths. How can this happen?
The high today will be 92 degrees, but people don’t realize that inside a car without air conditioning, that temperature will quickly climb to a deadly 165.
Being in a hot car even for a short time can result in heat stroke or death.
Two weeks ago, tragedy struck after two children died in a hot car west of Fort Worth. The children’s mother says she lost sight of them and later found the two and one year olds locked in the car.
And last month, a two year-old Burleson boy died last month of heat exposure when his family forgot that he was in the car for five hours.
Tips for Parents to Prevent Hot Car Deaths
I have been representing car crash victims for the past 37 years and want to make our roads and vehicles safer. As we start another scorching Texas summer, protect your family from hot cars by doing these simple things:
- Never leave your child alone in the car while just running into the store, as even one minute in the shade is too long.
- Put your briefcase or purse in the backseat along with your child so you are forced to look back before getting out of the car.
- If somebody else is driving your child to daycare or school, check that your child arrived safely.
- Schedule an alert in your calendar on days you are in charge of your child’s drop-off, especially if outside of your normal routine.
Note that a parked car can be unsafe even in the winter months. The hot vehicle phenomenon occurs when temperatures dip to 60 degrees. In fact, a two year-old toddler died in South Florida in February after being left in the car for five hours. The little boy’s half-sister forgot about him when she went to work at 9 a.m. and he was unconscious by the time she left work at 2:30 p.m.
The Car is Also Too Hot for Pets
It is a sight you see all too often: a dog waiting in the car for an owner. Texas heat can be brutal for humans. Can you imagine also having fur and the inability to sweat?
Leaving a dog in a hot car is unfair and uncomfortable at best, and potentially cruel as the heat increases in the enclosed vehicle. Dogs can sustain brain injuries after only a few minutes in the car and die within 15 minutes. Take your dog with you whenever you leave your vehicle. If the store doesn’t allow pets, leave your dog at home before running errands.