HOUSTON – This summer, we have reported on hot car deaths involving kids and in the last 30 years, Texas leads the total number of deaths in hot cars by dozens more than the next highest state, according to kidsandcars.org.
Robert Lapus, M.D., a pediatric emergency physician with Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and at UT Health, said it can happen to anyone.
“You can be the most responsible parent and something like this can happen to your child. So, I don't like saying 100% preventable because we're not perfect but I know it's 100% tragic,” Lapus said.
Children's bodies heat three to five times faster than adults, and the inside of your vehicle creeps up 20 to 30 degrees within minutes.
“About 30% of kids get locked in cars. So, always lock your car, so if you park your car in the garage, still lock it and also keep your keys away from your child,” Lapus said.
There are apps, alarms, sensors and lots of technology available to help you remember when a child is in the backseat, but Lapus said the solution can be much simpler.
“Whether it's leaving your shoe, a purse, a wallet, or your cellphone [next to the car seat], or sometimes someone will put an object of the child in the front seat as well,” Lapus said.
As Houstonians head back to school and day care, parents and grandparents will start a new routine and that, Lapus said, is the biggest risk factor to forgetting kids inside cars.
If you see a child or pet locked in a hot car under distress and cannot quickly locate the parent, a local attorney said you can do whatever you see fit to get that child or pet to safety and are protected under the Good Samaritan Act. If you have your cellphone on you, call 911 immediately and let the dispatcher know what you are doing.