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Kids in hot car calls in DFW significantly higher this year, officials say

Texas leads the nation with 146 total child hot car deaths from 1990 to 2021.

DALLAS — With summer in full swing, the Texas heat poses a serious threat for heat-related illnesses and, unfortunately, calls for kids being left in hot cars.

On average, 38 children die every year nationwide from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside vehicles, and Texas leads the nation with 146 total child hot car deaths from 1990 to 2021.

MedStar told WFAA that its crews have responded to nine incidents where a child was left in a hot car since May 1. All of those children were under 6 years old, officials said.

This is significantly higher than years past. MedStar said there have been more incidents this year (nine) than the previous three years combined in the same timeframe (eight total for 2019-2021).   

Here is a breakdown of the kids in hot car calls that MedStar has responded to (from May 1 to Aug. 3 each year):

By year:

  • 2022: 9 incidents, average age 28 months
  • 2021: 1 incident, average age 36 months
  • 2020: 2 incidents, average age 9 months
  • 2019: 5 incidents, average age 12 months

By zip code:

  • 76040: 1 (2022)
  • 76104: 1 (2020)
  • 76105: 1 (2019)
  • 76106: 1 (2019)
  • 76107: 2 (Both in 2019)
  • 76111: 1 (2022)
  • 76114: 1 (2022)
  • 76115: 3 (All in 2022)
  • 76116: 1 (2022)
  • 76119: 2 (1 in 2020, 1 in 2022)
  • 76120: 1 (2021)

Tips to help keep kids safe:

  • Create a reminder to check the back seat.
    • Put something you'll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, etc., in the back seat so that you have to open the back door to retrieve that item every time you park.
    • Keep a large stuffed animal in the child's car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It's a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.
  • Keep car keys and remote openers out of reach of children.
  • Use technology
    • Apps like WAZE have child reminders when you arrive at a destination you used a phone-based GPS to get to
  • If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately. If the child seems hot or sick, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.

You can find more kids in hot cars prevention information online here.

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