A Houston-area child is dead after being left inside a vehicle for several hours while his mother prepared for his sister's birthday party, officials say.
According to the Associated Press, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the 5-year-old boy died Monday as his family was getting ready to celebrate his 8-year-old sister's birthday. The boy, his sister and his mother went to the store to buy some items for the party, and when they returned home, the mother assumed both children had gotten out of the car on their own.
"She's excited, trying to get things together," Gonzalez said.
The sheriff said about two to three hours after the mother went into the house, she began looking for her son and went to the car. She found him unresponsive, still buckled in, and called 911.
The sheriff's office said the child was pronounced dead at the scene.
The mother told the sheriff her son had gotten out of his car seat by himself before, but the family was using a rental vehicle that may have been unfamiliar to him.
The sheriff's office said Tuesday that investigators responded to the scene and the case is open. The office said investigators will meet with the district attorney's office to present their findings.
The temperature in Houston Monday afternoon was expected to climb near 100 degrees.
HOT CAR SAFETY
News from around the state of Texas.
According to the National Safety Council, if it's 95 degrees outside the internal temperature of a car could climb to 129 degrees in 30 minutes. After just 10 minutes, temperatures inside could reach 114 degrees.
A child's body temperature heats up three to five times faster than an adult and heatstroke can begin when a person's core body temperature reaches 104 degrees. A core temperature of 107 degrees is lethal, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.