First child dies this year from being left in overheated car

POSTED: Monday, April 4, 2011 - 4:34pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:54am

CENTRAL TEXAS -- As warmer weather approaches, so does tragic news of children left in sweltering cars.

Last year alone, 49 children died in over-heated cars. Thirteen of those were in Texas, and the first death of 2011 has already been reported.

Maybe you've seen it happen, maybe you've even done it: run into a store for a minute leaving your child in the car. However, Safe Kid's USA's Susan Burchfield says those minutes can be life-threatening.

"Even on a day like today, it doesn't seem that warm outside. In fact, you almost need a jacket, but inside that car, it is heating up very very quickly," said Burchfield.

Safe Kids USA brought a special car to show just how hot it gets inside. It took under five minutes for the car to reach temperatures well over 100 degrees.

"Children can not get rid of the body heat as quickly as adults do so it can be a very quick danger zone for children," said Burchfield.

We wanted to see for ourselves just how hot the car felt, and after five minutes in the car, sweat was pouring and it was hard to breath. 

This year's first death came when a mother forgot to drop her baby off at daycare and left the six-month old in the car for nine hours.

Grandfather of six, Bob Arris, says he just doesn't understand.

"In today's world, they're in seatbelts. So you've got to consider, they can't sit there all day in a seatbelt. So if you're going in the grocery store, take them out!" said Arris.

But experts say it can happen to anyone.

"Everyone thinks that it could never happen to them. It could be that we're multi tasking or too many things on our mind. You've got that nine o'clock meeting, and that ten o'clock conference call so you forget to drop baby at daycare," said Burchfield.

Safe Kids advise setting an alarm to remind you about your child, don't let your kids play in the car unattended and if you see a child trapped in a car, call police immediately.

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