Houston police are investigating the death of a 3-month-old after he was left inside a vehicle on a sweltering day, becoming the 16th child reported to die this year in a hot vehicle.
Authorities were called around 3:25 p.m. Tuesday to an outpatient mental health facility the baby’s mother had been visiting with another child, age 4, Assistant Chief Yasar Bashir said during a news conference.
The mother found the baby inside the car when she was leaving and took him inside the facility. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Bashir added.
“Houston gets very hot. Under no circumstances you should leave a child in the car, not even for a moment. Don’t think the AC is going to work out fine or if you roll down the window that’s going to be fine,” Bashir said, adding it is not known how long the child was in the vehicle.
The mother and father are cooperating with the investigation.
Tuesday’s high temperature in Houston was 101 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
An average of 38 children under age 15 died in hot cars in the US every year from 1998 to 2022, most in summer months, according to noheatstroke.org.
Temperatures inside a car can increase by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and often, that’s enough to cause hyperthermia. Within an hour, car temperatures can rise more than 40 degrees, even when outdoor temperatures are low.
A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s, and a child can die when their body temperature reaches 107 degrees, the safety administration said.