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Beat the heat, check your backseat

National Weather Service
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Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 6:21pm

One of the biggest threats during warmer months is the possibility of your child dying inside a car of heatstroke. And because of our population, and location, Texas consistently leads the nation in the number of heat-related child deaths per year. On average, 38 children die per year from being left in a hot car.

Ninety-one children have died from hyperthermia in Texas since 1998.

"If you've left kids or pets in a car obviously in the hot summer months for even a short amount of time you can have heat related illnesses and ultimate death," said KETK Meteorologist Dr. Robert Thornton.

Because a car's temperature rises at such a fast rate, it could take just minutes for a child to experience a heat stroke, especially since their body temperature warms at a rate three to five times faster than adults.

"Even with temperatures in the 70's outside, you can see a cars temperature rise 20 degrees in 10 minutes," Dr. Thornton said. "What is happening here is you have the sun's radiation coming in a car, kind of acts like a green house, so radiation comes in, heats the objects in the car, the steering wheel, the dashboard especially if the car has dark interiors heats it up really quickly."

Leaving your children unattended in a car is a Class C misdemeanor. The law states children under seven years old should not be left in a vehicle unattended for more than five minutes unless they are accompanied by someone 14 years or older.

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