WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Texas leads the country with 127 pediatric vehicular heatstrokes deaths since 1998. As Texomans enter another hot summer, KFDX and ER Now urge folks to Look Before You Lock.
There has already been one pediatric vehicular heatstrokes death this year in Texas, and with this information, hopefully, that will be the only one.
“Never leave the kids in the car,” ER Now physician Dr. Stuart Meyer said.
Texas is known for its high temperatures in the summertime and accidentally leaving children in the car could have a deadly consequence.
“The inside of the car heats up very quickly. It could get up to 125 degrees within a matter of minutes. So even cracking windows does not really help alleviate that effect,” Meyer said.
If a child dies in a hot car, the caregiver of that child could be held responsible.
“If there’s injury to the child or if there’s a situation with the weather or if an officer thought there was enough there for endangering or abandoning a child in a vehicle, then arrests could be made,” Wichita Falls Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Charlie Eipper said. “An officer may even write something that they might have filed to CPS just in case there’s been other cases.”
For good samaritans who want to save a child from a locked car, police officers ask Texomans to do so wisely. If someone sees a child locked in a car and want to break the window to help rescue the child, experts said to break a different window to unlock the car or to just wait for your local authorities.
“Just so you can get in and at least unlock the doors or get to the child through another compartment or something,” Eipper said. “That way you’re not throwing glass all over them. Now if it’s an emergency, getting glass on a child is the least thing that you’re thinking about because you want that child to get air.”
Although Meyer understands stress and fatigue can cause parents and caregivers to forget children in the backseat, he urges them to look in the backseat before they lock their doors.
“Oftentimes, we’ll be facing backwards so it looks the same,” Meyer said. “You don’t know if anybody’s in the seat, so it’s best to make a habit of getting in the back seat before you go off to work.”
Meyer also said to check for children playing in parked cars while they’re at home.
Here are more “Look Before You Lock” tips.