HPD: Illegal To Leave Kids In Cars, No Exceptions, No Excuses

With warmer weather on the way, the dangers of death increase when a child is left unattended in a vehicle. Area retailers join the Houston Police Department to remind the community that it is not only careless, but against the law.

It's part of the ongoing campaign that the HPD began a couple of weeks ago called "Child Safety Starts with You." In short, there are no excuses or exceptions to leaving a child inside a vehicle.

Captain Roy Lozano, with the Houston Fire Department, says the temperature can increase by 30 to 40 degrees in an hour, and rescuing a child from inside a hot vehicle is their priority.

"If we can't negotiate that door in a safe fashion, we are gonna force entry into that vehicle. We are gonna cause damage, and that damage will never pay for that life loss of that child, but we need to make sure that we raise awareness to our parents that 'I'm gonna be just a minute; I'm only gonna be 5 minutes' -- not in Houston weather, especially not in our summertime. And 9 times out of 10, that 5 minutes turns into 20. In 20 minutes, vehicles can be reached of a 100 degrees."

Dr. Kim Cheong with the UT Health Science Center, chairs the Houston-Harris County Child Fatality Review team. She's familiar with hot car casualties in the emergency room.

"Children, young children, infants, their body temperature also increases very rapidly. It can go up so fast that they become hypothermia and organ systems cannot function very well in this high temperature, and ultimately they can have seizures. They die ultimately."

HPD officer James Sobota says adults need to know that it is illegal to leave a young child unsupervised in a car.

"Your children are more important than having a busy schedule, and work. If a child is injured or if they die, this is tragic."

Just last week, a young infant died when a father forgot the baby was left in the back seat.

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Pat Hernandez

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Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...