Each year, children and pets tragically lose their lives after being left in a hot vehicle.

Matt Zavadsky
Matt Zavadsky

According to a report from Kids and Cars, nearly 1,000 children have died in hot cars nationwide since 1990. Texas has lost 143 children from vehicle heatstroke deaths between 1990 to 2020. That means in Texas we lose approximately 5 children to vehicle heatstroke deaths each year.

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On average, 37 children die in hot cars each year in the US. Even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car, and the end result can be injury or even death. The average number of deaths per year in the US is 39, which is roughly one death every 9 days.

This year in Texas, Kids and Cars have already reported 4 children's deaths. In 2018, the US reported the most vehicle heatstroke fatalities with 54 deaths. Additionally, Kids and Cars documented 62 pets that died in hot cars in 2018, though many of these cases go undocumented so the number is likely much higher.

  • 88% of the deaths are kids under 3.
  • 55% of the deaths are kids under 1.
  • 55% were left in the car unknowingly.
  • 26% got into an unlocked car.
  • Even with windows cracked, the interior temperature in a car can get to 125 degrees in minutes.

Tips to help keep kids safe

  • Create a reminder to check the back seat. Put something in the back seat that you will need, like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case so that you have to open the back door to retrieve that item every time you park. Or keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It’s a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.
  • Keep car keys and remote openers out of reach of children.
  • Use technology. Apps like WAZE have child reminders that are activated when you arrive at your destination.
  • If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately. If the child seems hot or sick, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.

It’s never okay to leave a child alone in a car, even for a few minutes and even if the car is running.

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