806 children have died due to pediatric vehicular heatstroke since 1998. All of these deaths could have been prevented. In 2017, 42 children died in hot vehicles in the U.S., seven of those in Texas. One of those was a seven-month-old boy in the Houston area who died on June 23.
So far, in 2019 a total of 11 children have died, so far none of them in Texas. In 2018, there were several in Texas including one in Houston on July 19, when a 3-year-old boy was left in a day care van following a field trip. The first 2018 death in Texas occured on Wednesday, May 16, in Eagle Pass. According to news reports, a 7-month-old girl died after being left in a car for several hours in the parking of lot Eagle Pass High School. authorities say the baby’s father works at the school. He reportedly forgot to take the child to day care. The outside temperature in Eagle Pass was 99 degrees on Wednesday. A second death occured in Baytown, Texas on June 4, 2018. An eight-month-old girl was forgotten in a hot vehicle.
Heat-Related deaths among children had been declining since 2013 when there were 44 deaths. In 2014, there were 31 and in 2015, the number had dropped to 24. Look Before Your Lock education is clearly still needed and is now required in Texas for parents of newborns.
A Texas Heatstroke Education Law (HB 2574) took effect on September 1, 2015. The new law requires that hospitals, birthing centers, midwives, nurse midwives and physicians provide information to parents of newborns regarding the heatstroke dangers of leaving a child unattended in a vehicle, along with other health and safety information such as shaken baby syndrome.
Between 1998 and 2015 Texas had more heat-related child deaths than any other state at 100. Florida had 72, California, 44 and Arizona, 24.
This video illustrates from Safe Kids USA how quickly the heat inside a care can turn deadly
The Safe Kids Campaign is called A-C-T
A – Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked so kids don’t get in it on their own. Keep keys and key fobs out of reach of kids.
C – Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car near your child such as a briefcase, purse, or cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
T – Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911.
Here are some additional resources:
See comprehensive national heatstroke statistics and information from San Jose State University here.
See the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) webpage regarding heatstroke prevention here.