BAYTOWN, Texas -- Baytown police are warning parents and guardians of the dangers of leaving children alone in cars during the approaching summer months. One father was taken to jail after his 18-month-old daughter was left in a scorching hot vehicle.
Shortly before noon on Wednesday, the Baytown Fire Department received reports of a child left alone in a car parked in the Kroger parking lot in the 1700 block of North Alexander.
Fire and EMS crews arrived to the scene and looked inside the car, but did not initially see the child, who was covered under a blanket. The blanket then "moved" and the toddler cried, prompting emergency crews to gain access to the locked vehicle and rescue the girl. Police then arrived to the scene.
While in the parking lot, officers noticed a man walk out of the store, then turn around and quickly go back inside. A few moments later, a second man exited the store and approached the officers, saying he was the father of the girl.
The father told police he had only been inside the store for 10 minutes, but officers pulled surveillance footage showing that the dad was actually inside for 18 minutes, leaving the toddler alone in the hot car.
Officers then placed a thermometer inside the vehicle to see what the temperatures inside the closed vehicle felt like.
It was 90 degrees outside, but inside the car, the thermometer showed the tempertatures rose --within 18 minutes -- to 112 degrees..
Police then contacted the Harris County District Attorney's Office, who accepted charges of endangering a child against the father, Gene Curry.
Curry was transported to the Baytown Jail and booked.
His daughter was checked out by EMS, determined to be physically OK and released to her paternal grandmother.
"We were fortunate on this one, our first responders arrived quickly and took quick action to get the child out of the vehicle and cooled off," officials with the Baytown Police Department said.
They went on to give a few tips citizens should keep in mind as the temps start to rise:
1. It takes about 10 minutes for the temperature in a car to go up 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cracking a window open and parking in the shade aren't sufficient safeguards.
3. A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s. A child can die with a 107 degree body temperature.
4. Even if it’s in the 60s outside, your car can still heat up to well above 110 degrees.
5. On an 80-degree day, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach deadly peaks in 10 minutes.
6. Never leave a child alone in a hot car, it can be deadly!