As the Mercury Rises, HCHD Reminds You about the Dangers of Leaving Unattended Children in Cars

HOUSTON (June 24, 2010) – As the mercury rises, so do incidents of heat exhaustion, heat stroke and deaths resulting from leaving children in parked cars. The Harris County Hospital District offers several safety tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe this summer.

Even in cool temperatures, cars can quickly heat up to dangerous levels. The temperature inside a car can rise almost 20 degrees within a few minutes. With Houston’s 90-plus degree heat, a car’s interior can climb to well over 110 degrees.

“Unfortunately, all it takes is a careless mistake or a poor lapse in judgment for tragedy to occur,” said Dr. Angela Fisher, medical director, Emergency Center, Ben Taub General Hospital. 

When traveling with children, remember the following:

  • Never leave infants, children, seniors or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
  • To remind you of a child onboard, place your cell phone, PDA, purse, briefcase, gym bag, lunch bag next to your child’s car seat.
  • Another memory tool is to keep a special toy in your child’s empty car seat when the child is not with you. Bring that toy to the front seat with you when the child is in the car seat.   
  • Set your cell phone to go off at the same time each day to remind you that your baby should have been dropped off at daycare.
  • Set your daily calendar to remind you that your child should be at child care. Many tragedies have occurred when parents drive to work instead of stopping at daycare.
  • When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook children who have fallen asleep in the car.
  • Dr. Fisher urges anyone who sees a child left unattended in a car to immediately call law enforcement authorities or 9-1-1. 

“We want you to err on the side of caution if you see a child left unattended in a car,” she said. “The consequences of not doing something are too grave for you to ignore.” 

For more information on protecting yourself against the heat, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control at

© Harris Health | 713-634-1000