As summer days continue to blister South Texas, local county agencies and hospital officials are concerned about the growing number of deaths of children being left in unattended vehicles.
To provide a little insight into how these deaths occur, CHRISTUS Spohn Health System, the Corpus Christi Fire Department and the Department of Family and Protective Services conducted a demonstration of the dangers of the heat. At noon on Thursday, paramedics, nurses and media gathered for the ‘Look Before You Leave’ demonstration at the Corpus Christi Fire Station #1 in downtown Corpus Christi.
Using a thermometer and stopwatch, officials placed a plush toy in a car seat of a parked car at 76°. Within fifteen minutes the temperature rose to 113°.
According to a press release from CHRISTUS Spohn Health System, this year alone, there have been 26 hot car fatalities in the nation, with three of those reports in Texas.
Nueces County Child Protective Services advises that if you see a child in a car unattended, to call 911, get the child out of the car immediately and then call the Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-252-5400.
Here are some Summer Safety Tips from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services:
- When you get out of the vehicle, make sure everyone in the car leaves the vehicle too, even if you’re only stopping for a minute. And lock all doors.
- Communicate clearly with others. Don’t assume someone else is taking your child out of the car.
- Always check the backseat before you get out of the car. Parents and caregivers can forget they have the baby in the backseat, especially if the child is quiet or has fallen asleep.
- Create reminders such as putting your purse, phone or other important items in the backseat. Put the child’s diaper bag or teddy bear in the front seat with you.
- Talk out loud to your baby while you are in the car together.
- Have your babysitter or daycare call you if your child isn’t dropped off that day or make a habit of checking in with your child’s caregiver after you drop him/her off.
- Be calm, careful and conscious. Mistakes happen when people are tired or distracted. Do not zone out, and pay close attention to small changes in your daily routine.
- Leaving the windows down or the air conditioning on is NOT enough to keep your child’s body at a safe temperature for long.
Your babysitter or child’s caregiver needs to know and follow these guidelines, too.