It happens too often: Children left in hot cars


ABILENE, Texas - With temperatures almost hitting triple digits, it's dangerous for anyone to stay outside too long, but sitting in the car can be far worse.

It's easy to remember to turn your air conditioning on when you get in the car, but far too often we're seeing children being left unattended in those same hot cars.

Officer George Spindler from the Abilene Police Department said the death toll from children being left in cars is surprising.

"In the state of Texas alone, there have been 92 children that have perished and died due to heat stroke, vehicular heat stroke they refer to it since 1998," Spindler said.

Even recently in 2000, a four and six-year-old died while playing in the trunk of a car in Abilene. Spindler said residents should remember that leaving a child unattended is a crime, no matter the temperature.

"If you have a child that's younger than 7 years old and you've left them in the car for more than five minutes and the child is unattended by someone younger than 14 years of age, you're in violation," Spindler said. "That means you're gonna get cited."

It's also important to remember that a child's body temperature rises three to five times higher than an adult's, so heat affects their bodies faster.

"In direct Texas heat, 105 degrees outside can reach 160-170 degrees on the inside without a problem...and that child has been sitting in there absorbing that amount of heat," Joseph Jenkins, emergency room physician, said.

If you want tips on how to protect your children from the heat, visit the Safe Kids Worldwide website.