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Don't Leave Children or Pets in Hot Cars
 

It might be a run to the store for groceries or a trip to the mall to buy clothes. If there are small children or pets along for the ride, you might consider leaving them in the car until the shopping is done. It won't take long. A quick check of the car thermometer indicates an outdoor temperature of 80 degrees. That shouldn't be a problem, right? Think again.

 

Temperature rises (in degrees F) in an enclosed vehicle every ten minutes up to an hour.
In the picture: Temperature rises (in degrees F) in an enclosed vehicle every ten minutes up to an hour. The data is courtesy of Golden Gate Weather Services.

 

Your vehicle acts very much like a greenhouse sitting out in the sun. Energy from the sun goes through the windows and quickly heats the dashboard and seats, which in turn warm the surrounding air. Even on an 80 degree day, temperatures in the car can rise as much as 30 to 35 degrees in a half hour. Readings could be over 100 degrees in as little as 10 to 15 minutes.

Small children can easily suffer from heatstroke when faced with these conditions. Their body temperatures warm three to five times as fast as an adult. Pets are also in big trouble considering many have a thick coat of fur. While cracking the windows might increase air flow a bit, studies have shown this provides little relief.

 

Hyperthermia fatalites (children in vehicles) across the country from 1998 to 2013.
In the picture: Hyperthermia fatalites (children in vehicles) across the country from 1998 to 2013. The data is courtesy of Golden Gate Weather Services.

 

Across the United States, an average of 38 children die each year of vehicular hyperthermia since 1998. Almost seventy percent of these fatalities happen during the summer months (June through August). Three quarters of these children are two years old or less. Countless pets also succumb to the heat annually.

 

"Beat the Heat, Check the Back Seat" logo. Many of these deaths are preventable. To help increase awareness, the National Weather Service is using the slogan "Beat the Heat, Check the Back Seat" to remind people to never leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle.
In the picture: "Beat the Heat, Check the Back Seat" logo.

 

If you see a child unattended in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately! In the case of a pet, consider making the same call, especially if there are signs of heat stress (heavy panting, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, etc). 

 


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