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Deputies work to prevent child deaths from hot vehicles

As the summer heats up, deputies from Harris County, Texas are working to help parents prevent something tragic, and completely avoidable: Heatstroke deaths, from children being left in hot vehicles.

In the last 20 years, more than 700 children have died due to being left in cars in hot conditions. Each year an average of 37 children die from heatstroke after being left in a hot vehicle.

Of those deaths, more than half are the result of a child being "forgotten" in a car, while another 28 percent are due to a child playing in an unattended vehicle.

Even on a mild day, a car can heat up to more than 100 degrees in just half an hour.

No parent thinks it will happen to them, but these deputies say that's when tragedy can strike.

"These things can just happen, you know?" Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told Fox 26 Houston. "I don't think that, obviously, most parents even fathom the idea of leaving the children behind -- but we've seen it."

These deputies are handing out mirror tags to remind parents to double check the back seat before leaving a vehicle. They also recommend leaving something valuable in the back seat like a bag, house keys, or a cell phone.

Of course, there's nothing more valuable than a child, so no matter what it takes, remember to check the back seat, every single time. It just might save a precious life.