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Waco Police Remind Parents to Look Before You Leave

So, I’ve been driving around Waco for about the past ten minutes with the air conditioner on. I picked up a thermometer to see just how quickly a car would heat up. The weather app on my phone says that the current temperature is 94 degrees, with a heat index value of 100. The thermometer in the car says it’s 74 degrees. I’m going to come back and check it in about ten minutes.

So, it’s been about ten minutes, going to see what the thermometer reads now. It’s reading 98 degrees.

That’s an increase of 24 degrees in just ten minutes. I checked it again after 20 minutes, and it was 105 degrees in the car.

According to the website no heat stroke dot org, three children have died so far this year after being left in a hot vehicle, the latest one in Houston on May 20th. A ten-month-old female was left in the car by her mother. She was found several hours later, unresponsive, and was taken to the hospital where she later passed away.

“Thankfully here in Waco a lot of times if we’re going to get a call that a child or pet is locked in a car, it’s because the child or somehow got accidentally locked, so the owner or the parent is always going to be around, when we are called, and they are going to be there when officers arrive. And it’s usually, they call pretty quickly, so it’s not in that detrimental state where someone has noticed maybe a child or a dog was accidentally left in a car.”

Cierra Shipley is the Public Information Officer for the City of Waco’s Police Department, and she tells me, the last time a child in Central Texas died from being left in a vehicle happened in Bellmead. It was a 9-month-old found unresponsive in July 2011.

She says if you see a child or pet locked in a car to call 9-1-1 immediately, tell the dispatcher the condition of the pet or child and to stay on the phone with them. Shipley says those calls are a priority one call so officers will arrive quickly.

“Along with calling an officer for that we also immediately call Pop-A-Lock to help us meet the officer there, and if a window needed to be broken that’s going to be the officers call and the fire department would be called for that.”

Shipley says even though parents are running in a store to quickly grab something, take your child with you, and be sure that your pets are allowed into places you are visiting.

“The reality is even if you crack a window, that car’s going to get really hot inside, and even leaving the car running is probably not going to be the safest option.”

A few helpful tips from the website kids and cars dot org, are to look before you lock. Open the back door of your vehicle every time you park to make sure no one is left inside. Also, ask your child care provider to call you if your child has not arrived on time. And make sure that no one can get into a parked vehicle.