Experts urge parents not to leave children alone in vehicles

Experts urge parents not to leave children alone in vehicles

MIDLAND-ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Monday we brought the story of an Odessa mother arrested for leaving a baby in the car, alone in a parking lot.

The report says the car was running but experts said that doesn't make it much safer.

The staff at Medical Center Health Systems (MCH) said accidents involving children in hot cars are becoming less common, but say one is still too many.
In a recent case, the engine of a car was left running with a one-year-old inside.

Cindy Burnette, MCH Outreach Director at MCH tells said although it wasn't hot, the child was still in harm and something could have gone wrong.

"The car stalling, the car running out of gas and things like that were the air conditioning is going to be off," said Burnette. "Which would lead to hot temperatures in the matter of 10 minutes."

A car heats up about 20 degrees every ten minutes. Burnette said this is true even in the mornings when temperatures haven't risen as much. Children and elderly are more prone to heat related injuries.

"Your heartbeat gets faster and faster, it's trying to cool itself," said Burnette. "Eventually, you go past that heat stress and go into heat exhaustion, heat stroke. To the point where people have seizures, they eventually stop breathing and their heart stops."

Burnette said the only way to make absolutely sure a child is safe is to take them with you.

"If you see a child in a vehicle and they cannot communicate with you my suggestion is to break the window, get into the car. Of course, break a window that isn't close to the child but get into that car anyway you have to," said Burnette.

Under Texas law, it is illegal to leave a child younger than 7-years-old in a vehicle for more than five minutes without someone 14-years or older with them.
This offense can be punished by up to two years in jail and a fine of $10,000.

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