Tyler Police program to demonstrate dangers of leaving child unattended in a hot vehicle

From the Tyler Police Department:

TYLER (KYTX) - With the start of summer, Tyler Police Department would like to remind you of the dangers of leaving your child unattended in a vehicle during the summer months.

This Wednesday, May 21, 2014 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm Officers from the Tyler Police Department will be at the front entrance of the Broadway Square Mall demonstrating the dangers of what it would be like to leave a child in a hot vehicle unattended.

Each year, especially during the summer months, we hear reports of the tragic loss of young children as a result of heatstroke in hot vehicles. Recently in Tyler a small child was rescued from a vehicle after being left unattended in a vehicle for a long period of time. The child was transported to a hospital with heat related issues and the mother was arrested for child endangerment.

We urge parents and caregivers to think, "Where's baby? Look before you lock".


In 2013, forty-four (44) children died inside hot vehicles in the United States. KidsAndCars.org data confirms that more children died in 2010 from vehicular heat stroke than ever before. There were a total of 49 fatalities.


2013 Child vehicular heat stroke deaths: 44

2012 Child vehicular heat stroke deaths: 32

2011 Child vehicular heat stroke deaths: 33

2010 Child vehicular heat stroke deaths: 49 (highest number of fatalities in one year--ever)

2009 Child vehicular heat stroke deaths: 33

1991-2011 Child vehicular heat stroke deaths: at least 613

Average number of child vehicular heat stroke deaths per year since 1998: 38 (one every 9 days)

Contributing Factors

A child's body temperature rises 3-5 times faster than an adult's. Even with the windows partially down, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 125 degrees in just minutes. Leaving the windows opened slightly does not significantly slow the heating process or decrease the maximum temperature attained.

There are several factors that contribute to children being inadvertently forgotten by care givers. Paramount is the fact that our brains are not keeping up with the demands of our busy lives. The most common factors include a change in one's normal routine, lack of sleep, stress, fatigue, distractions and hormone changes. When these factors combine, the ability for the brain to multi-task is diminished.

As parents know, life with newborns and small children is full of stress, sleep deprivation and distractions. And young children, especially babies, often fall asleep in their car seats; becoming quiet, unobtrusive little passengers. And sadly, for babies with rear-facing seats, the seat looks the same from the front seat – whether occupied or not.

Vehicular heat stroke is largely misunderstood by the general public. The majority of parents would like to believe that they could never "forget" their child in a vehicle. The most dangerous mistake a parent or caregiver can make is to think it cannot happen to them or their family.

In well over 50% of these cases, the person responsible for the child's death unknowingly left them in the vehicle. It happens to the most loving, protective parents. It can happen to anyone from all walks of life.


• Unknowingly left in vehicle: 54.25% • Knowingly left in vehicle: 11.94%

• Got into vehicle on their own: 31.58% • Circumstance Unknown: 1.82%


Children who have died from vehicular hyperthermia in the United States (1998-2010) have ranged in age from 5 days to 14 years. Thirty-one percent (31%) of hyperthermia deaths involve children under the age of one-year. In most states, infants are required to ride in rear-facing infant seats, in the back seat of a vehicle. Rear-facing infant seats do not look any different from the front seat if they are occupied or empty, which can cause a parent to think the child is no longer in the car with them.

Less than 1-year old 31% • 2-years-old 20% • 4-years-old 6%

1-year-old 23% 

2-years-old 20%

• 3-years-old 13% • 5 thru 14-years old 7%

Eighty-seven percent (87%) of children who have died from vehicular heat stroke are age 3 and younger.

Safety Tips from KidsAndCars.org

Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.

Put something you'll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, etc., on the floor board in the back seat.

Get in the habit of always opening the back door of your vehicle every time you reach your destination to make sure no child has been left behind. This will soon become a habit. We call this the "Look Before You Lock" campaign.

Keep a large stuffed animal in the child's car seat when it's not occupied. When the child is placed in the seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It's a visual reminder that anytime the stuffed animal is up front you know the child is in the back seat in a child safety seat.

Make arrangements with your child's day care center or babysitter that you will always call if your child will not be there on a particular day as scheduled.

Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway and always set your parking brake.

Keys and/or remote openers should never be left within reach of children.

Make sure all child passengers have left the vehicle after it is parked.

When a child is missing, check vehicles and car trunks immediately.

If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. If they are hot or seem sick, get them out as quickly as possible. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

Be especially careful about keeping children safe in and around cars during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.

Use drive-thru services when available. (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.)

Use your debit or credit card to pay for gas at the pump.

For additional information about ways to keep children safe in and around vehicles, visit our we


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