City Activates Emergency Heat Plan Day After Child Dies In Hot Car

After a three-year-old child died in a hot car yesterday, the City of Houston activated its Heat Emergency Plan, which kicks in after the heat index reaches 108 on two consecutive days.

Around 2 p.m. yesterday, emergency crews rushed the boy to the hospital after he suffered cardiac arrest in his family's Volkswagen Passat. As the Houston Chronicle reported, he had apparently been looking for a toy when he slipped out of his home unnoticed. Once he got in the car parked outside, he couldn't get out because of the child safety locks, police said. Family noticed he was missing after about 30 minutes. A neighbor had told the Chronicle his mother had been fighting stage four cancer and was recovering from chemo therapy.

"He was the poster child for the Energizer Bunny," Johnson told the Chron. "He was full of energy and definitely full of life."

Yesterday, the National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for all of southeastern Texas, and it extends until Saturday evening. The Houston Health Department said the advisory is likely to be extended even longer. Meteorologists urged high-risk groups, such as anyone over the age of 55 and under the age of 5, to stay inside air-conditioned buildings between 1 and 5 p.m., the hottest part of the day. The health department urged residents to drink extra fluids, wear sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats and loose-fitting clothing, and check on the elderly in person—a phone call is not enough, the department said.

For residents without air-conditioning, the Health Department urges them to seek shelter at one of its 47 designated "cooling centers." An electric fan won't help in these temperatures, the department said—in fact, it will accelerate air movement and the body's overheating. Some of the cooling centers are closed on the weekend, so residents can use this handy map to figure out which of the open cooling centers are nearest to them. No transportation? Call 311 and Metro will give you a ride.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Meagan Flynn is a staff writer at the Houston Press who, despite covering criminal justice and other political squabbles in Harris County, drinks only one small cup of coffee per day.
Contact: Meagan Flynn