Busy, distracted parents can easily leave a child in a hot car, but following a few simple tips may help save lives.

Hot car death statistics

Did you know that Texas leads the nation in child hot car deaths? According to KidsAndCars.org, 125 children died from vehicular heatstroke in Texas between 1990 and 2018. Hot car deaths in 2018 were at an all-time high with a total of 52 children dying in hot cars nationwide.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, even on a relatively mild 80-degree day, the temperature inside a car can rise 19 degrees in just 10 minutes. Since a child's body heats up three to five times faster than an adult's, the risk of heat stroke, brain damage and death are much greater for children left in hot cars.

This means that only a few minutes can be the difference between life and death.

The Children's Health℠ Injury Prevention team reminds us that these incidents are avoidable and are often a result of life's typical distractions, parents being in a hurry and transporting their children outside of their typical routine.

Prevent hot car deaths

If you are responsible getting your child from place to place, keep these tips in mind for preventing hot car tragedies:

1. Place an important item in the backseat

Place your cell phone, briefcase, purse or other important item in the backseat before driving to your destination. This will get you in the routine of checking the backseat every day. If your vehicle has the option to set a rear seat reminder, this is a good option as well.

2. Establish a peace-of-mind plan

When you drop off your child, make a habit of calling or texting all other caregivers, so all of you know where your child is at all times.

3. Check the car

Before getting out of the car, check to be sure everyone is out and lock all doors. Thirty percent of the deaths in the U.S. have occurred when a child climbed into an unlocked vehicle.

4. Lean on daycare providers

Have a plan with your daycare providers. Ask them to call you if your child does not arrive on time, and they have not heard from you.

5. If you see a child alone in a car, dial 911 immediately

Finally, take action. If you see a child alone in a car, dial 911 immediately. Stay at the scene until police arrive. 

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