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Risk Of Death From Overheated Cars Will Continue

Neil Debbage presents at Think Science at the Malú and Carlos Alvarez Theater on August 19, 2022.
Nathan Cone
Neil Debbage presents at Think Science at the Malú and Carlos Alvarez Theater on August 19, 2022.

The San Antonio Metropolitan Health Department and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are teaming up in an effort to reduce the number of child deaths in hot cars.

Even with slightly lower temperatures as fall approaches, the dangers remain high for children being seriously injured or dying from being left alone inside a hot car.

The two agencies are starting a campaign to remind parents and caregivers that kids can easily suffer heatstroke if left in a vehicle.

Metro Health is urging parents to:

  1. Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle
  2. Make it a habit to look in the backseat every time you exit the car
  3. Always lock the car and put the keys out of reach

"More than half of all vehicle-related heatstroke deaths in children happen when a child is accidentally left in the car," said Kelly Bellinger, the program manager for Metro Health's Healthy Start, in a press release, "and more than 30 percent are caused by a child getting into a hot car on their own."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says one child dies in the U.S. from vehicular heatstroke nearly every 10 days.

Bellinger is also quoted as saying: "Children’s body temperatures can rise up to five times faster than that of an adult, and on an 80 degree day, a car can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes."

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.