Hot car danger in summer heat - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Hot car danger in summer heat

TYLER (KYTX) - Fifteen children have died in the United States this year from being left alone in a hot car, three of them in Texas, including a four-year-old girl from Smith County. It's a serious problem in summers and especially in the Texas heat.

Shari Pulliam with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services says in the heat of the day, it only takes about 10 minutes for a car to go from 80 degrees to about 101 degrees. She says it's everyone's responsibility to make sure children are not left alone in this kind of space.

"Even on a mild day, a child trapped in a hot car can die of heat stroke and hyperthermia in just a matter of minutes."  

Pulliam says leaving a child alone in a car is a Class C misdemeanor.

"It is a serious charge. And, it's all preventable. You've got to look around before you exit a vehicle."


It was just recently the public learned about the death of a Georgia toddler left in his father's hot car for several hours. The father, Justin Ross Harris, remains in a Georgia jail cell on murder charges.

And now, the investigation is shifting to the toddler's mother. Cobb County Police Detective Phil Stoddard detailed her reaction on the day her only child was found dead.

"In front of several witnesses, all of sudden she states. 'Ross must have left him in the car.'"

Pulliam says it's everyone's responsibility to be on the lookout for children trapped in hot cars. It's actually against the law if you see that and don't report it.

"I think that you should alert someone immediately. Call 911, call police. And, if that child is in distress, you need to do whatever you need to do to get into that vehicle and get that child out. If that means breaking a window, by all means, break a window."

Pulliam says you can replace a car window, but you can't replace a child's life.

"It's everyone's business. And, i just want to remind everyone this summer to please remember that cars are not babysitters. Look before you leave."

Pulliam says there are three things you can do to make sure this doesn't happen to you.

     1. Never leave your child in a car alone

     2. Put something in the back seat that you have to get out at your next stop.

     3. Always lock your car.

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