Local child advocates launch campaign to deter hot car deaths, drownings

Houston toddler's death is 27th hot car death this year

SAN ANTONIO – One day after a 3-year-old Houston boy died after being left behind in a sweltering day care van, local child advocates launched a “Be on the Lookout” campaign in an effort to save lives.

“This is to keep us on alert of how deadly this heat can be,” said Erica Banuelos, with Child Protective Services.

Advocates with the Texas Department of Family Protective Services and the Bexar County Welfare Boards want their safety campaign posters plastered at parks, pools and businesses all over town as a way to remind the community to be watchful for vulnerable children.

“If you are walking through parking lots, be vigilant,” Banuelos said. “If you see something, say something. Call 911. It’s immediate.”

To obtain posters, email kimberly.hill@dfps.state.tx.us.

Temperatures can reach life-threatening levels inside a non air-conditioned car quickly. On a triple-digit day, temperatures can reach 140 degrees in an hour.  

As a recent demonstration by University Health System showed, even on an 80-degree day, the temperatures inside cars can soar to 130 degrees. 

Adding to the danger, children’s bodies can’t regulate heat like an adult’s can.

Already this summer, 27 children in the U.S. have died in hot cars. Twice as many have drowned in Texas alone. 

Advocates are urging families to plan outings, and even go so far as to assign one adult to watch one child.

“A child can drown in a pool when everybody is there because nobody is paying attention,” said Robbie Callis, CPS investigator.

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