Child hot-car deaths a growing problem amid heat wave

Rush Hour

(NewsNation) — A Houston boy who died in a hot car this week became the fifth child to die in that manner this year after being left inside for two to three hours. These are deaths experts call “100% preventable.”

“Dogs and small children have less sweat glands than we do. Heat does not escape them as fast as it does an adult,” said a Houston police officer on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” Wednesday.

Houston police have been quick to remind Texans of the paramount importance of heat safety, especially after the 5-year-old boy died in a hot car Monday. According to local authorities, his family left him in the back seat as they prepared for his sister’s birthday party.

The child was the second child to die in a hot car in Houston this year.

According to the nonprofit Kids and Cars, an average of 38 children die in hot-car deaths each year and more than 1,000 have died since 1990.

According to Kids and Cars, 56% are unknowingly left in the vehicle by a parent or guardian. 26% are children who gained access to the car on their own. And 15% are knowingly left inside the hot car.

“Everyone thinks it cannot happen to them. It most definitely can happen to any one of us,” the Houston police officer continued.

This comes as there’s an update to an infamous hot-car case in Georgia: The state’s Supreme Court overturned the murder conviction of Justin Harris —an Atlanta father whose 22-month-old son died after being left in the car for seven hours. The high court cited unfair prejudicial impact on the jury.

Authorities say if this is something you worry about —particularly new parents who have been exhausted and stretched thin — keep a phone, purse, briefcase or even a shoe in the back seat, as you can’t go long without those items

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