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Cops: Boy Died in Hot Car While Mom Prepared Sister's Party

Police say Texas boy was left in car for 2 to 3 hours
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2022 6:11 PM CDT
Boy, 5, Died in Hot Car While Mother Set Up Birthday Party
The National Safety Council says an average of 38 children die of heatstroke in cars every year.   (Getty Images/structuresxx)

(Newser) – A 5-year-old Houston-area boy died in a hot car while his mother was busy preparing his 8-year-old sister's birthday party, police say. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says the woman took the two children to a store while getting ready for the party Monday and left the boy behind when she returned home and rushed inside with the 8-year-old, KTRK reports. She didn't realize the boy was still in the vehicle until two or three hours later, the sheriff says. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders.

"With the business of the activities that they were preparing for, it took a while for them to notice that the child wasn't in the house," the sheriff says. Gonzalez says investigators were told that the boy knew how to unbuckle himself from his car seat, but he may have had trouble getting out because the car was a rented vehicle he was unfamiliar with. "The door did not have any kind of child safety lock enacted or anything like that," the sheriff says. It's not clear whether the mother will face charges, CNN reports.

The temperature in the Houston area hit a high of 101 degrees Monday. The National Safety Council says that if it's 95 degrees outside, the internal temperature of a car can climb to 129 degrees in 30 minutes,NBC-DFW reports. Dozens of children die in hot cars every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says children should never be left unattended in a vehicle, even with windows open. The agency says people should get into the habit of always checking the front and back seat before leaving a vehicle. (Read more Texas stories.)

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