MCKINNEY (CBS 11 NEWS) – The death of a 10-month-old baby left in a hot car in an Austin parking lot is the latest reminder of heat-related dangers. That’s especially true for new parents.
Starting in September a new law will require hot car safety education for all parents before they leave the hospital to go home with their newborn.
Little Annabella is only a few hours old, so it’s hard for her mom to imagine leaving her alone in a hot car.
“I can’t imagine it right now, but I’m sure… I mean obviously it does happen. We’ve seen it on the news,” Deanna Sousa said holding her daughter Annabella in her hospital bed at Baylor Medical Center at Irving.
Thursday afternoon police found a child dead in a hot car at an Austin Waffle House. The car was not running, and the windows were up. It isn’t clear how long the child was left in the car.
“It’s a very big risk to take, especially here in Texas with the heat. A child can die, especially a newborn, very easily from overheating,” Sousa said.
That’s why the Texas legislature passed a law earlier this year requiring hospitals to teach new parents about the dangers of heatstroke from hot cars. For the last five years Baylor Medical Center at Irving has used stuffed bear keychains as educational tools.
“So what you’ll do is you’ll clip it to keys, and whenever you get in the vehicle, you’ll have it there while you’re driving. Whenever you get out of the car, once you take the infant out of the car, you attach it to their car seat,” said Katelynn Waldschmidt, a nurse who explained the program to Sousa and her husband.
The bear should never leave the car, and it’s big enough that parents shouldn’t get far without realizing that if they still have the bear, they don’t have their child.
“I think it’s a great idea because so many times you just get in the motions of doing your normal activities, especially as a new mom,” Sousa said.
Baylor Medical Center at McKinney is considering adopting the Backseat Buddy program, and every Texas hospital will have to begin some form of safety education starting in September.
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