So far this year in Texas, 11 children have died as the result of being left in an auto. June is National Safety Month and with temperatures now in the 90’s and humidity high, Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jay Sanders reminds local residents to not leave a child in an auto.
Sanders stated that Texas law does allow a child under 7 to be left in an auto for five minutes if another individual 14-years of age or older is present. However, he said even that is taking a chance. He said it does not take long for a child to reach the danger level in an auto.
Remembering the child is in the auto is vital. Sanders referred to parents who are out of their normal routine such as one parent taking the child to day care when the task is usually performed by the other parent. He said that specific steps should be taken to remember the child is in the auto. He said focus on the child is vital. Another concern is to leave the child or children in the auto because of the time consuming task of removing a child from the safety seat and/or other activity surrounding taking the child into a business for a short time. Sanders said it is better to take the time to be safe than to run the risk of harming the child.
He stated that the most important thing is the time a child remains in the auto in an unsafe condition. Dehydration and heat begin a shutdown of the brain as the body begins to defend other organs. The chief noted that each situation calls for slightly different medical steps to be taken to care for the child when they are discovered.
Sanders pointed out that to leave the child in the vehicle resulting in no medical problems found is a Class C misdemeanor but if the child is injured in any manner the penalty ranges from State Jail Felony to a Felony 2.