News Release from the office of Senator Carlos Uresti

September 8, 2008
CONTACT: Vanessa Macias Ballou, (512) 463-0119

Make Child Safety a Habit

As the summer draws down to an end, busy school-year schedules kick up, and the parenting routine becomes more demanding. School, art classes, soccer practice and daycare become part of a parent's daily commute and for young children, but the extra car time can prove fatal.

One of the biggest risks of death for toddlers and infants are hot car deaths. According to The Centers for Disease Control, more than 9,100 children are treated in emergency rooms due to car incidents that do not involve traffic or collisions.

While any amount of time a child is left unattended in a car is too long, in Texas it is illegal to leave a child under seven years old unattended in a vehicle for longer than five minutes. It only takes a few minutes for a vehicle to reach lethal temperatures on a hot day. It only takes ten minutes for a car to hit 100 degrees on a 75 degree day. On a one hundred degree day, (which have been very common this year) a car can reach 140 degrees in just 15 minutes.

Unfortunately, many of the children who die in unattended vehicles are found in the backseat of a car with their seatbelts still fastened. While living with the guilt of causing death or injury to a child is unbearable, a person can also be sentenced to up to two years in jail and fined up to $10,000 if a child is injured as a result of being left in a hot car.

Aside from injury or death, children left unattended are always at risk of abduction. It is much easier for a child to be taken when nobody is watching them.

Make sure children know not to play in or around cars, and never leave your car keys where children may find them. Lock your car doors and keep your trunk closed. Always make sure all children are out of the car when you reach your destination. These precautions only take seconds, but they can mean the difference between life and death for your child.

Carlos I. Uresti is the State Senator of District 19, the largest geographical senate district in the contiguous 48 states. Senate District 19 spans a 23 county area stretching along the U.S.-Mexico border, from San Antonio to El Paso County. Covering 55,000 square miles, the district contains 62 school districts, spans two time zones, and is larger than 24 states and 25 countries.