AUSTIN – As the dog days of summer continue and temperatures across the state top triple digits, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) wants to remind all Texans to take extra safety precautions, as the heat can pose an increased danger for at-risk populations — including children and the elderly — particularly in vehicles.
“We know extreme temperatures place children at a greater risk for injury, and even death, when they are left unattended in a vehicle, and that’s why we want to remind Texans to take every precaution possible and do their part to help ensure no children are left unattended in vehicles this summer,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Extreme heat brings many dangers, and those dangers should not be taken lightly. Heat-related injuries and deaths are often preventable, and we must all be vigilant in taking the necessary steps to protect ourselves and others.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), vehicular heatstroke is one of the leading causes of fatalities — that is not crash-related — among children. In 2019, 52 children died in the U.S. due to heatstroke from being left in vehicles.
Temperatures inside of a vehicle can rise by more than 20 degrees in 10 minutes. If it is a comfortable 60 degrees outside, it can be a sweltering 110 degrees inside a vehicle. Leaving windows partially rolled down doesn’t help. Additionally, the younger the child, the more severe the effects of heat on their body because of their inability to regulate internal temperature.
DPS offers the following tips to prevent vehicular heatstroke, and for staying safe and managing the heat:
For additional information on preventing heatstroke in vehicles, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Additionally, Ready.gov, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the National Weather Service also have helpful tips on staying safe in the heat.
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