Leaving your kid in a hot car can be a deadly decision

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX)- The days are heating up, and on Wednesday, the heat index reached up to 113 degrees for parts of the Brazos Valley.

But it’s not just the air that is getting hotter; it’s also, our vehicles.

Bryan resident Sara McMullen says she is used to the heat, but everything changed when she had a child.

"I start my car before I put her in it. It gives the car an opportunity to cool down,” said McMullen, “It’s comfortable for both of us, so that's one of the things that I do in the summer.”

According to the National Safety Council, in 2018, 52 kids died in hot cars, the deadliest year in two decades. They say the biggest reason, was simply forgetting.

Ashley Kopech is a nurse at Baylor Scott & White and says things like changing your routine, stress, and being distracted, are the top three reasons kids get accidentally left in hot cars.

"We’re going to work, or we are going to take them to daycare, and then we go on autopilot,” said Kopech, “We answer the phone, and we get distracted."

McMullen says she has a few ways to help make sure that she never leaves her child behind.

"I give her some kind of toy that will make noise, keep her entertained,” said McMullen, “but also at the same time something kind of lights flashing or something like that. That is always a good reminder for me.”

Some other suggestions are to leave your purse in the backseat, or your cell phone because, in a sitting car, temperatures can increase up to 20 degrees in only 10 minutes.

"It can happen to you, there is no exclusion in this. We are on our phones all the time, we are worried about what we are doing next, and unfortunately, its distraction that is getting us," said Kopech.

For more information on hot car safety, there is an online course provided by the National Safety Council in the related links section.