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Preventing hot car deaths: Rear seat alarms to be installed in new vehicles by 2025

An average of nearly 40 children a year die in hot cars nationwide. On Monday, a 5-year-old Houston-area boy died after being left in an SUV for several hours.

HOUSTON — A simple car ride can have deadly consequences if you forget about what's in the backseat.

An average of nearly 40 children a year die nationwide in hot cars. This is why automakers are promising all new vehicles will have rear seat safety alarms by 2025.

How they work

One alarm system will allow your vehicle to sense when a backseat seatbelt is locked. A display will appear on the dash when the car starts, indicating a seatbelt was locked. When the car comes to a stop, an alarm will go off, signaling to check the backseat.

RELATED: Don't forget your child: Carmakers making alert feature standard by 2025

Cell phone providers are also assisting with rear seat safety alarms by allowing drivers to connect a plug-in device into the computer of their vehicles. It's a mirror image of your car, so if your car has an alert to check your backseat, your phone will also alert you to check your backseat.

Other, more sophisticated alarms, sense actual motion in the backseat after a driver leaves.

According to the KHOU 11 Weather Team, the heat will be sticking around for the next several days, with no relief in sight until maybe Monday or Tuesday of next week.

Amber Rollins, with the nonprofit Kids and Car Safety, said Texas has the highest number of hot car deaths in the country. Nationwide, 56% of hot car deaths happen when a child is accidentally left in a car. Twenty-six percent when a child gets in themselves and can’t get out.

RELATED: Boy dies after being left in vehicle for several hours at NE Harris County home, sheriff says

It doesn’t take long for a car to become an oven.

"Most people don’t realize that the majority of the increase in temperature inside of a car happens within the first 10 minutes," Rollins said. “Their little bodies heat up 3 to 5 times faster than an adult.”

Rollins says kids should know three things:

  • How to honk the horn
  • How to turn on flashers
  • How to unlock a front door if they can’t get out of a back one

Additionally, the Harris County Sheriff's Office said kids should know how to unbuckle their car seats.

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