Texas Enacts Law Requiring Hot Car Death Education
June 24, 2015
The State of Texas has enacted a new law that hopes to prevent child hot car deaths by requiring education for parents of newborns.
On June 19, 2015 the governor of Texas signed H.B. No. 2574 that requires midwives, hospitals, and birthing facilities throughout Texas to provide educational materials to parents of newborns warning of the dangers of heatstroke to children left unattended in a motor vehicle. The new law will take effect on September 1, 2015.
According to the website no heatstroke.org, Texas leads the nation in deaths of children left in a hot car. Between the years 1998 and 2014, 95 children died in Texas after being left alone in a hot car. Florida comes in second with 68 children killed.
Nationally, between 1998 and the writing of this article, 645 children have died in hot cars, an average of 37 per year.
In spite of all the news articles about the issue, it seems that people still aren’t getting the word. Eight children have died so far in 2015 and summer has just begun. However, the weather doesn’t have to be hot for a child to die in a car. With an outside temperature of 72 degrees, the temperature inside the car can rise to more than 100 degrees in 20 minutes. In an hour, the temperature can rise by more than 40 degrees inside the vehicle. Most of the heating takes place within the first 20 minutes and cracking the windows has little or no effect.
Small children don’t have the ability to regulate their body heat as efficiently as an adult; in a hot car, their body temperature can rise three to five times as fast as an adult’s.
As of now, only 20 states have laws that specifically prohibit leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. Only 15 states have “Good Samaritan” laws that protect someone who tries to render aid in an emergency situation and only a few of those state laws specifically protect someone who breaks a window or uses some other means to forcibly enter a vehicle to rescue an unattended child.
If you think your state should have laws that prohibit leaving a child unattended or that protect someone who breaks into a car to rescue an unattended child, let your legislators know. You can find information for contacting your local legislator by visiting: Find Your Legislator
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