Hot Car Deaths In Texas [2024]

Hot Car Deaths In Texas [2024]

*Note: This study was originally published on May 8th, 2024 and will be updated as necessary. 

Summer is coming in Texas, which means one thing.

You need to be prepared for the heat.

Whether you like it or not, a UN Weather Agency report released in March 2024 stated that there’s a high probability that Summer 2024 is likely to be one of the hottest summers on record in Texas, being even hotter than the last.

Too often, when any parent is running an errand or doing a task, they will choose to leave their children in the car with the extreme heat outside. But most of these parents or guardians may not know that cars without air conditioning can heat up more than 20 degrees inside in as little as ten minutes.

Additionally, a child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s does, and an action as simple as cracking a window will do little to keep the car cool.

Out of the entire country, Texas leads the way in having the highest number of hot car fatalities since 1998, with a total of 143 deaths.

Summary of Findings

  • There have been a total of 143 hot-car-related deaths in Texas since 1998.
  • Houston, Dallas, and Austin have the highest rates of hot-car-related deaths in the state.
  • 57% of people who died were male and 43% were female.
  • Children below the age of 2 are at the highest risk of dying in a hot motor vehicle.
  • 81% of deaths in cars happen when the outdoor temperature is over 90°F.

Table of Contents

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Number of Hot Car Deaths Per Year

Using data from, a program supported by the National Safety Council, we compiled a list of every death that happened in a hot car from 1998 to the present.

With a total of 143 hot car deaths since 1998, there has been an average of 5.46 hot car deaths per year in Texas.

Number of Hot-Car Related Deaths Per Year

Year Deaths
2023 4
2022 5
2021 2
2020 5
2019 7
2018 5
2017 7
2016 7
2015 5
2014 4
2013 5
2012 5
2011 9
2010 13
2009 6
2008 10
2007 1
2006 7
2005 4
2004 3
2003 11
2002 4
2001 5
2000 4
1999 4
1998 1

The amount of car deaths in Texas has stayed relatively consistent since 2013, as each year since then has had anywhere from 2 to 7 deaths.

There’s also no additional explanation as to why there was a spike in hot car deaths from 2010, but according to multiple climate reports released at the time, 2010 was one of the hottest summers on record in the state, especially in Houston.

Number of Deaths By City & County In Texas

Number of Hot Car Deaths By City & County

City Number of Deaths
Houston 17
Dallas 7
Austin 5
Brownsville 4
Corpus Christi 3
Denton County 3
El Paso 3
Fort Worth 3
Dallas 2
Abilene 2

Austin, Dallas, and Houston have all had the most hot car deaths since 1998, with Houston having a total of 17 deaths.

Victim Demographics

Victim Demographics

Gender Deaths
Female 61
Male 82

57% of hot car related deaths are male, and 43% of all of the victims are female.

Number of Hot Car Related Deaths By Age Group

Number of Hot Car Related Deaths By Age Group

Age Deaths
2 mo – 1 yr 51
14 mo – 2 yr 50
27 mo – 3 yr 20
46 mo – 4 yr 15
5 yr + 7


Unsurprisingly, children under the age of two have the highest fatality rates, as compared to older children. In total, 101 out of 143 deaths that have happened in cars have been children under the age of two, which equates to 70% of all hot car deaths.

It’s also important to note that a child’s internal body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adults. Additionally, a child can die when their internal body temperature reaches 107 degrees.

What Was The Outside Temperature When People Were Left Inside?

You might also be wondering, “What was the outside temperature when these parents may have left their loved one in the car?”

Here’s what the data from the National Safety Council tells us:

Percentage of Deaths By Temperature

Temperature Deaths
73°F-79°F 6
80°F-89°F 22
90°F-99°F 94
100+°F 21


You might also ask yourself the question, “Is there a correlation between higher temperatures outside and a higher amount of deaths?”. The answer is yes.

There is a clear correlation between the temperature outside and the amount of deaths that occur when someone is left inside a motor vehicle in the blazing heat.

Based upon this data, over 81% of all hot car related deaths in Texas occur when the temperature is over 90°F.

Hot Car Safety Laws In Texas

According to Texas Penal Code Chapter 22.10:

Sec. 22.10. LEAVING A CHILD IN A VEHICLE. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly leaves a child in a motor vehicle for longer than five minutes, knowing that the child is:

(1)  younger than seven years of age;  and

(2)  not attended by an individual in the vehicle who is 14 years of age or older.

(b)  An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.”

Based upon this law, it can result in a fine up to $500 and a Class C misdemeanor, which stays on your record for a minimum of 180 days after the date of the arrest.

Tips For Parents & Guardians To Keep Their Children Safe In The Summer Heat

With the dangers of the heat approaching, it’s important to take the following steps to keep your children safe when driving in hot temperatures.

  1. Teach your kids to not play in cars without parents around.
  2. Never leave your child unattended in a motor vehicle.
  3. Make sure that any nanny or caregiver keeps an eye on your child at all times.
  4. If you see an unattended child in a car during extreme heat, call 911 immediately.
  5. Make it a habit to check the back of the car before you leave during routine activities, such as school and daycare.

By following these steps, you can keep your children safe and prepared to make sure a tragic event never happens. If you or a loved one has been injured, get in touch with an Austin personal injury lawyer from the Bonilla Law Firm today.


For this study, we drew upon data from the National Safety Council,, a program supported by the National Safety Council, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

After reviewing the data from those sources, we then analyzed the data via Excel and created the necessary data tables and charts.

If you are a journalist or reporter and you would like to use any of the findings from this study, please provide a link back to this page.