HCSO outlines initiative to help combat hot car deaths

Texas leads the nation in hot car child deaths and Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez is hoping to help find an answer to the problem.

The Sheriff’s Office is teaming up with Harris County Public Health and the non-profit Got Child to help raise awareness. A press conference was held at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office on Monday about the new initiatives.

“High heat environments for children can really be deadly. There’s a spectrum of things that can occur when they get exposed to heat all the way from something mild to something very major and it only takes a very few minutes for something deadly can happen.” said Sherry Oneygo with Harris County Public Health.

One of the ways the Sheriff’s Office is raising awareness is through hang tags drivers can place on rearview mirrors to remind them to check for a child in the backseat of a vehicle.

The tags are available here at gotchild.com.

According to the company’s founder, James Green, the tags are available through donations which can be made online. Green says donations can be as little as $1 and tags will be shipped out within five business days.

The hang tags can be placed in vehicles to remind parents, grandparents, caregivers, guardians, etc. to double check the backseat for a child.

“Sometimes we get into auto pilot and that’s what seems to happen many times in these situations and so just have those reminders handy… and to the public, if you see anything of this sort please call 911 immediately and let us try to rescue these infants as quickly as possible.” said Gonzales.

On Monday, HCSO posted 7 Tips To Prevent Hot Car Deaths on Facebook:

1. Look before you lock. – Open the backdoor and look in the backseat to assure that everyone is out of the car. (even if you think you are childless.)

2. Keep something you need in the backseat. – Put your cell phone, briefcase, computer, ID, left shoe etc. beside your child so that you will have to look in the backseat.

3. Travel with a furry companion. – Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and when the baby is on board move the stuffed animal to the passenger seat as a reminder the child is in the vehicle.

4. Always lock the doors. – Even if the car is in the garage, keep the doors locked to prevent curious children from getting into the car.

5. Put the keys and fobs away. – Kids might want to play with keys and be able to get into the vehicle without parents knowledge.

6. Have a plan with childcare provider. – If your child does not show up to daycare or school without prior notice, someone should call to locate the child.

7. If you see something, do something. – If you see a child along in a car, do not hesitate to call 911.