ODESSA, TX (KWES) - One toddler in Burleson, Texas died this past Friday after being left in a hot car. He's the first Texas child to die this year from vehicular heat stroke. Regardless where it is, it's a nightmare for any parent and unfortunately, the problem isn't getting better. Last year, 39 children across the country died after they were left in hot cars.
Parents or guardians can be arrested for endangering a child if they're left inside a hot vehicle. Odessa police said this has occurred several times in the past and the child is released to Child Protective Services.
"I think a lot of times people don't realize how hot it is outside and it gets hotter inside the vehicle," said Corporal Steve LeSueur with the Odessa Police Department. "A lot of times they don't realize they're going to be in there for a few minutes but it ends up being half an hour, an hour, even longer."
We put the hot car to the test while it was cloudy and 87 degrees Fahrenheit outside. After five minutes, the temperature started reaching the 90's. After 15 minutes, it reached over 100. After 30 minutes, the temperature stayed at 103 degrees.
Whether it's in the 90's or in the 60's outside, temperatures can still get 20 degrees warmer inside the car. Experts said cracking down windows won't lower the temperature. If you also think leaving the A/C running is okay, your child may stay cool, but police said it's an invitation to thieves.
"It has happened here where somebody actually stole the vehicle with the child still inside," said LeSueur. "Child safety is the biggest concern."
Odessa police said the best advice is to bring your child with you, even if you're running a quick errand. The minutes that you take, is a matter of life and death.