AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) reminds Texans about the dangerous potential for vehicular heatstroke in summer months when a child is left alone in a vehicle. Every year, children die from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle or entering a vehicle unnoticed.
“Children should never be left unattended in a vehicle regardless of the weather; however especially in warmer temperatures, the likelihood of serious injury or death increases exponentially when a child – or anyone – remains in a hot vehicle for too long,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “DPS is continuing to urge parents, caretakers and the public to do their part to prevent vehicular heatstroke by never leaving a child inside a vehicle without an adult present, and by notifying emergency personnel if they see a child alone in a car.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, temperatures inside a car can rise more than 20 degrees in only 10 minutes; and even with an outside temperature of 60 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach 110 degrees. Leaving windows partially rolled down does not help. In addition, young children are particularly at risk since their bodies heat up faster than an adult.
DPS offers the following tips for preventing vehicular heatstroke deaths and injuries:
- Always check the back seats of your vehicle before walking away.
- Establish reminders that help ensure you remove children from the vehicle. For example: leave your bag, lunch or cell phone in the back seat with the child’s car seat.
- Call 9-1-1 if you see a child alone in a car, and emergency personnel will instruct you what to do next.
- If a child goes missing, open the doors and trunks to every vehicle in the area. One-third of all of the deaths occur when a child accesses a parked car unnoticed.
- Teach children not to play in vehicles and make sure to place the keys out of reach when not being used.
For more information, visit www.safercar.gov/parents/index.htm.
Pets are also susceptible heat-related injuries and death if left unattended in a vehicle. For more information on how to protect your pets from heatstroke, visit http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/help-dog-in-hot-car.html?credit=web_id353383049.