HOUSTON — A 5-year-old boy was found dead after being in a sweltering vehicle for hours.
It was supposed to be a quick trip with this child’s mother and 8-year-old sister to get ready for the sister’s birthday party, in Northeast Harris County.
When they returned home, in a rush to get ready to celebrate, both mother and daughter rushed into the house to prepare, not knowing the little boy was still strapped in his seat, until two to three hours later.
While the Harris County Sheriff’s Office investigates, it has not said whether the mother will face charges.
This was the 5th child to die in a hot car this year. Texas leads the nation with the most hot car deaths of children with a total of 149 deaths since 1990.
More than 1,000 children have died in hot cars since 1990 and at least another 7,300 survived with varying types and severities of injuries, according to data collected by Kids and Car Safety.
The good news is that technology exists that can prevent these unthinkable tragedies.
“Unfortunately, this is yet another example of why it is extremely important to have effective occupant detection technology as standard equipment in all vehicles as quickly as possible,” stated Janette Fennell, founder and president of “Kids and Car Safety”, the leading national nonprofit working solely to prevent injuries and deaths of children in and around motor vehicles. Fennell says, “everyday that we delay in advancing these cost-effective detection technologies means children are needlessly at risk of dying. An occupant detection and alert system could have gotten assistance to this sweet angel before it was too late,”.
Child hot car deaths and injuries are largely misunderstood by the general public and the majority of parents believe this would never happen to them. In an overwhelming majority of child hot car deaths, it was a loving, responsible parent that unknowingly left the child.
While “Kids and Car Safety” continues to push for technology in all vehicles to end hot car deaths, the organization is also committed to educating families and helping them learn how they can safeguard their children, until they have life-saving technology in their vehicles.
Funded by State Farm Insurance, the organization released three new video PSAs aimed at educating the public about these predictable and preventable tragedies.
“What To Do if You See a Child Alone in a Vehicle”
“Child gets into hot car, becomes trapped”
“Child Unknowingly Left in a Hot Car”
Here are some Safety Tips for Parents and Caregivers:
- Create simple habits to help keep your child safe.
- Make sure your child is never left alone in a car:
- Place the child
s diaper bag or item in the front passenger seat as a visual cue that the child is with you. Make it a habit of opening the back door every time you park to ensure no one is left behind. To enforce this habit, place an item that you cant start your day without in the back seat (employee badge, laptop, phone, handbag, etc.)
- Ask your childcare provider to call you right away if your child hasn`t arrived as scheduled.
- Clearly announce and confirm who is getting each child out of the vehicle. Miscommunication can lead to thinking someone else removed the child.
Make sure children cannot get into a parked car:
- Keep vehicles locked at all times, especially in the garage or driveway. Ask neighbors and visitors to do the same.
- Never leave car keys within reach of children.
- Use childproofing knob covers and door alarms to prevent children from exiting your home unnoticed.
- Teach children to honk the horn or turn on hazard lights if they become stuck inside a car.
- If a child is missing, immediately check the inside, floorboards and trunk of all vehicles in the area carefully, even if they`re locked.
- Hot Car PSA Videos:
- Child gets into hot car, becomes trapped
- Child Unknowingly Left in a Hot Car
- What To Do if You See a Child Alone in a Vehicle
For more information, visit Kids and Car Safety.
KIAH contributed to this report.