Kaufman County Texas, Even with repeated warnings, children are still dying in hot cars. When temperatures rise, so does the risk of an unthinkable tragedy of children accidentally left strapped in a car seat and dying from excessive heat exposure.
The Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging everyone to be extra cautious about leaving your child in a vehicle unattended. Look around you, be aware. Take your child out of the vehicle first, and then worry about getting the groceries, or packages. Always lock your car and secure the keys so that children cannot get to them. Place a reminder on the dashboard of your vehicle, that you have a child in the car, just in case you get busy or forgetful.
In Section 22.10 of the Texas Penal Code a person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly leaves a child in a motor vehicle for longer than five minutes, knowing the child is younger than seven years of age; and not attended by an individual in the vehicle who is 14 years of age or older. An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
The key numbers to remember are five and seven. If you leave a child age seven or under alone in a vehicle for five minutes or more, the law kicks in. If you leave a child in the vehicle for more than five minutes with another person age 14 or under the law applies.
With the Texas temperatures getting warmer, parents need to get into the habit of never leaving children unattended in a motor vehicle, even if it is just to run a quick errand. On a typical summer day, the temperature inside a car (even with the windows rolled down a little) can quickly rise above 120 to 140 degrees. At those temperatures children are at great risk of heat stroke, which can lead to a high fever, dehydration, seizures, stroke and death.
The Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office is asking every citizen in Kaufman County to help spread awareness about this very important issue. If each of us accepts the responsibility to be mindful of this issue it may help to save a child’s life.