Here's a sad number: 134. That's how many children have died in Texas since 1998 from getting locked or stuck in a hot car.
Unfortunately, Texas leads the nation in hot car deaths, and the latest fatality is a 1 year old Texas girl from Houston who was locked in a car for 9 hours.
KXXV 25 reports that the death is the second hot car death in Texas in 2021 and the 20th death in the U.S. this year.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office reports that the baby was left in the back seat of the car after the mother had already dropped off two older children ages 3 and 5 at daycare. The mother was intending to also drop off the baby at about 8:30a but was discovered still in the car that evening, nine hours later.
According to the Texas Heatstroke Task Force, 53 percent of children who are left in a vehicle were forgotten about by parents or caregivers, 25 percent of the deaths happened after a child entered a car by themselves without anyone noticing and couldn't get out.
So many of these deaths are preventable. There are several ways to help prevent these tragedies, including placing an item in the front passenger seat that will remind you that your child is with you, such as a diaper bag. Place an essential item you need to start your day, such as a key, handbag, or phone in the back seat. Make it a habit of opening the back door every time you drive and ask a child care provider to alert you immediately if your child has not arrived to school or daycare as scheduled.
In May of 2021, a bill known as the "Hot Cars Act of 2021" was introduced "To require the Secretary of Transportation to issue a rule that requires all new passenger motor vehicles to be equipped with a child safety alert system, and for other purposes."
Perhaps some form of help is on the way to help prevent these tragic deaths.