HOUSTON (AP/KXAN) — Police say an 18-month-old child has died after being left in a hot day care center van for four hours parked outside the center in northwest Houston.
Deputies with the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s Office say the child was found unresponsive about 7 p.m. Thursday in the van outside Discovering Me Academy. The van had been parked there since 3 p.m., and during that time nearby Bush Intercontinental Airport reported temperatures reaching 98 degrees with a heat-index reading of 106.
The child was pronounced dead a short time later at a hospital. An employee was being questioned.
The academy had been cited in 2015 for not reporting a wreck involving the van in a timely manner and for a driver not knowing how many children were in her group.
Kidsandcars.org says this is the third child in Texas this year who has died from being left in a hot car. In May, a baby girl died after being left in her father’s car for hours in Eagle Pass. In June, a 9-month-old baby died after being left in a car in Baytown.
Kidsandcars.org has a checklist for parents and caregivers to make sure children are never locked in a hot car.
Make sure children aren’t left alone in a car:
- Make opening the back door of your car a routine every time you park to make sure no one is inside
- Put something on the back seat to help remind you to check — whether a purse, phone or keys
- Keep a stuffed animal in your car seats, and move it to the front of the car when a child is in the back seat
- Ask babysitters and child care providers to call if your child hasn’t arrived on schedule
Make sure children can’t get into a parked car:
- Lock vehicles at all times, even if in a garage or driveway
- Keep keys and remote openers out of childrens’ reach
- If a child is missing, immediately check the trunk and inside all vehicles nearby