Nacogdoches Fire Dept., CPS urge child safety during summer heat

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The summer heat can be dangerous to anyone and children are no exception.

Every year tragic cases of children being left in cars and dying from heat exhaustion are reported.

As the temperature rises, so does the risk of heat related deaths for children left in cars.

"There have already been 14 hot car deaths in the United States this year and 3 of those have been in Texas," Said Shari Pulliam, Public Information Officer with Child Protective Services.

To see how fast the temperature can change, the Nacogdoches Fire Department and CPS put on a demonstration Monday afternoon.

At the start of the demonstration, the temperature was 84 degrees.

Fire crews sat the thermometer and a plastic baby inside a car and six minutes later there was already an increase of 20 degrees.

Four minutes later, the baby was pulled out of the car. The temperature is measured at 115 degrees.

In ten minutes there was a total increase of 30 degrees, and this could happen to anyone

"It happens to people like you and I. It's not that they do it on propose, people are forgetful. They have a lot on their minds these days," said Pulliam.

One of the easiest ways to not forget about a child left in the backseat is to leave something back there with them that you will need when you get out of a car, such as a cell phone.

There are also other easy steps, including paying for gas at the pump instead of walking inside. It is also good to use the drive-thru service when it is offered at places.

Experts also say to keep the vehicle locked when it is not being used to prevent children from getting inside, and always look through the entire vehicle before locking.

Safety officials say there are never any exceptions.

"Take them out with you. Don't leave them in when you go to get another kid, grocery store, anything," said Nacogdoches Fire Captain, Paul Engle.

"You can't leave a child, an elderly person or a pet for that matter in a vehicle for any length of time. Cars are not baby sitters," said Pulliam.

Pulliam also says that if you see a child left alone in a car, it is important to call 911 immediately.

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