Doctor, DA talk of dangers of hot cars - Brownsville Herald: News

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Doctor, DA talk of dangers of hot cars

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Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2019 10:30 am

In just 20 minutes, the temperature inside a car on a scorching Rio GrandeValley summer afternoon can rise from 80 degrees to nearly 110 degrees.

But it just takes minutes for an infant left inside a vehicle to pass out and die.

That’s the message Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz and Brownsville Children’s Clinic Dr. Asim Zamir want to stress to the community as triple-digit weather arrives.

“School’s out. Summer’s here. And the heat is on,” Saenz said from outside the Cameron County Courthouse Friday afternoon, as temperatures surpassed 90 degrees.

Saenz said parents might think that errand to refill a prescription or to pick up a gallon of milk might just take a minute, but such thinking could turn into a fatal mistake.

“Two to three minutes turns into five minutes, that’s all the time a child or a pet or the elderly need to succumb to the heat,” Saenz said. “Please be mindful of your children.”

There already have been some deaths in Texas this year, Saenz said, adding that CameronCounty has been spared such a tragedy in the past few years due to public outreach efforts.

Zamir said heat-related illnesses are some of the most common types he sees in his practice each year.

Ten years ago, he faced such a tragedy, when a mother left her baby inside a car while filling a prescription. That child passed out and died, Zamir said.

“If we save one life, we save humanity,” Zamir said.

While public awareness about leaving children, pets or the elderly in hot cars to prevent illness or death can go a long way, Saenz also wanted to remind people that aside from the loss of a loved one, someone responsible for such a death could end up in jail.

“If that’s not tragic enough,” Saenz said of a hot car death, “the State of Texas says if you cause the death of a child or the elderly from negligence, you can be charged.”

 

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com

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