The Texas Department of Public Safety is warning residents as we enter summer that rising temperatures increase the risk of vehicular heatstroke. The warmer weather places children, pets and the elderly at greater risk of injury or death if left unattended in a vehicle.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, heatstroke is one of the leading causes of non-crash-related fatalities among children. “Children are needlessly dying every year because they are left unattended in vehicles,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “The public can do their part by notifying emergency personnel if they witness a child alone or in distress inside a vehicle – regardless of the weather conditions.”
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.
Such negligence could lead to criminal charges.
DPS offers the following tips for preventing vehicular heatstroke deaths and injuries:
- Never leave your child unattended in the vehicle.
- Call 9-1-1 if you see a child alone in a car, and emergency personnel will provide guidance.
- Teach children not to play in vehicles, and make sure to place the keys out of reach when not being used.
- Always check the back seats or cargo areas 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.
- If a child goes missing, open the doors and trunks to every vehicle in the area. Many heatstroke deaths occur when a child accesses a parked car unnoticed.