A five-year-old Texas boy died Monday after being left inside a sweltering car for several hours while his family was preparing for a party, authorities said, in the latest hot car death involving a minor in the United States.
according to Harris County Sheriff Ed GonzalezThe boy was in the car for two to three hours after his family came home from shopping for items at a store for his 8-year-old sister’s birthday. The boy, whose identity was not revealed, was declared dead at the scene.
The Associated Press reported that the sheriff’s office said Tuesday that investigators have responded to the scene and that the case is open. The office said investigators will meet with the attorney general’s office to present their findings.
The boy is the fifth child to die in a hot car in the United States this year, Johnny Humphries, head of the Texas Heatstroke, said. Humphreys said this is the second hot-car-related death in Texas in 2022.
On average, 39 children die in car-related deaths each year in the United States, according to the nonprofit organization Kids and Car Safety. More than 1,000 children have died in hot cars since 1990, the organization said.
“As we move into summer and these really hot days, we want to spread awareness, and we want people to take safety precautions and create habits in their daily lives, to prevent this from happening,” Amber Rollins, director of Kids and Car Safety, told USA TODAY on Tuesday.
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The majority of deaths associated with hot cars are accidental. Nationwide, about 53% of hot car-related deaths are the result of forgetting a child and leaving them unattended in vehicles, according to Humphreys.
About 26% of hot car-related deaths are due to a child reaching an unlocked car and 20% of deaths are due to intentionally leaving a child in the car, Humphreys said in an email.
Bev Kellner, director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Passenger Safety Project and KidSafe Initiatives Project, noted that children are more likely to develop heat stroke as their body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s.
“Although it doesn’t have to be a hot summer day for this to happen, about two-thirds of child deaths from motor vehicle heatstroke (PVH) occur during the summer months (according to data for noheatstroke.org),” Humphreys said in a report. . E-mail.
Vehicle temperatures can rise to 20 degrees within 10 minutes and will continue to rise, according to Humphreys. Contrary to belief, rolling a window or leaving it open doesn’t help much with the heat, said Laura Dunn, a safety specialist with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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Experts and advocacy groups encourage caregivers and parents to follow precautions and safety guidelines such as creating habits and making sure children do not have access to unattended parked vehicles.
- Place a visual sign in the front passenger seat to show that the child is with you.
- Never leave a child unattended in a car.
- Make checking the tailgate a routine or a habit every time you park. To enforce this, put an item you can’t start your day without in the back seat.
- Keep vehicles unlocked at all times, especially when parked.
- Do not leave the keys within the reach of children.
- Ask your childcare provider to call you right away if your child does not arrive as scheduled.
“Child mortality from heat stroke is 100% preventable,” Humphreys said in an email. “Developing a few preventative habits can prevent family tragedies.”
Contributing: The Associated Press