Ways to prevent hot-car deaths

By Sofia Ojeda - Anchor/Reporter, Lea Wilson - Digital News Editor

HOUSTON - Texas leads the nation in hot-car deaths and the Harris County Sheriff's Office teamed up with community partners, including Harris County Public Health and Got Child? to get the word out: Kids dying in hot cars is 100 percent preventable.

As part of the campaign, Cy-Fair Firefighters along with sheriff's deputies were locked inside a car with temperatures reaching 147 degrees. They did it to show how quickly heat stroke can occur.

Officials said the bodies of small children cannot deal with heat like adult's can.

Once a child's internal temperature reaches 107 degrees, their little bodies begin to shut down, officials said.

Officials said this can happen to families of any race, class, or background. It has happened to families who have thought, "this can't happen to me."

Every year there are, on average, 47 deaths from being locked in hot cars.

It takes less than ten minutes for a locked vehicle's temperature to go up 20 degrees and heat stroke can occur within minutes.

Here are tips to prevent hot car deaths, according to HCSO:

Look before you lock

Open the back door and look in the backseat to assure that everyone is out of the car (even if you think you are childless at the time).

Keep something you need in the backseat

Put your cell phone, briefcase, computer, lunch, ID badge, left shoe or anything essential to your daily routine beside your child.

Travel with a furry companion

Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When baby is in the car seat, the stuffed animal rides shotgun. The furry passenger serves as a reminder that baby's in the back.

Always lock the doors

Even if the car is in the garage, keep the doors locked to prevent curious children from getting into the car.

Put the keys and fobs away

Kids might want to play with keys and be able to get into the car without parents' knowledge.

Have a plan with childcare provider

If your child does not show up to day care of school without prior notice, someone should call to locate the child.

If you see something, do something

If you see a child alone in a car, call 911.

You can get more information about how to prevent hot-car deaths at any Harris County Sheriff's location or you can go to www.gotchild.com.

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