TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Tyler police are helping to raise awareness of the dangers of leaving children in hot cars during the summer.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the summer of 2020, 24 children died after they were forgotten in cars.

As of this year, two children have already died.

Not only is there a risk for death, if a child or pet died in a vehicle, but East Texas first responders said people can be in trouble with the law.

“You can be criminally responsible when you do that,” Andy Erbaugh, with the Tyler Police Department said. “If you do it with negligence, like you forgot for some reason you can be charged with criminally negligent homicide which is a third degree felony.”

If people do see a child or a pet who might be experiencing heat stroke inside a parked car, law enforcement said to contact them immediately.

“We’re not waiting for the owner, if there’s a child in the car and it’s a 100 degrees out, we’ll get into the car and get that child,” Erbaugh said.

In East Texas the hottest temperatures are in mid-July where the average temperature is at least 96 degrees.

According to the Medical Director of Christi Northpark Emergency, temperatures can increase dramatically within 10 to 20 minutes.

Erbaugh said that the Tyler PD have not seen a whole lot of these types of cases, but said that we never know what the year might bring.


They include:

  • a headache.
  • dizziness and confusion.
  • loss of appetite and feeling sick.
  • excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin.
  • cramps in the arms, legs and stomach.
  • fast breathing or pulse.
  • a high temperature of 38C or above.
  • being very thirsty.

Mayo Clinic describes a heat stroke as:

“A condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This most serious form of heat injury, heatstroke, can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher.

Heatstroke requires emergency treatment. Untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death.”


  • Call 911 right away-heat stroke is a medical emergency.
  • Move the person to a cooler place.
  • Help lower the person’s temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath.
  • Do not give the person anything to drink.