Never leave pets or kids alone in a vehicle on a warm day, even for a short time
June 27, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – The inside of your car heats up rapidly, even when it’s not scorching hot outside. In just ten minutes on 70 degree day, the car’s interior can reach 104 degrees—and with 95 degree heat outside, your car’s interior can hit 129 degrees in that same short time. Never leave your pet, child or any person alone in a car on a warm day, even for a few minutes.
Two tragedies in the past week illustrate what can happen. In Kansas, two children died of heatstroke in hot cars on Father’s Day, reports KidsAndCars.org, a national nonprofit working to prevent injuries and deaths of children in and around vehicles. Here in EL Cajon, a dog left in a hot car at the EL Cajon courthouse died and the owner has been charged with animal cruelty.
In the past 20 years, 700 children have died in hot cars nationwide and seven young children have died of heatstroke in hot cars so far this year – including some youngsters forgotten in vehicles by parents and one child who climbed into an unlocked car in an apartment parking lot.
To prevent these tragedies, below are some tips for protecting your children and your pets.
Safety Tips for Parents and Caregivers (from KidsAndCars.org)
Below are some simple tips parents and caregivers can follow to prevent heatstroke tragedies.
Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.
- "Look Before You Lock" - Get in the habit of always opening the back door to check the back seat before leaving your vehicle. Make sure no child has been left behind.
- Create a reminder to check the back seat.
- Put something you'll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, etc., in the back seat so that you have to open the back door to retrieve that item every time you park.
- Keep a large stuffed animal in the child's car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It's a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.
- Make sure you have a strict policy in place with your childcare provider about daycare drop-off. If your child will not be attending daycare as scheduled, it is the parent's responsibility to call and inform the childcare provider. If your child does not show up as scheduled; and they have not received a call from the parent, the childcare provider pledges to contact you immediately to ensure the safety of your child. (this is very similar to the 'absence-line' used by most elementary, middle and high schools) Everyone involved in the care of your child should always be aware of their whereabouts.
- Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in driveways or garages. Ask home visitors, child care providers and neighbors to do the same.
- Keep car keys and remote openers out of reach of children.
- If a child goes missing, immediately check the inside passenger compartments and trunks of all vehicles in the area very carefully, even if they are locked. A child may lock the car doors after entering a vehicle on their own, but may not be able to unlock them.
- If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately. If the child seems hot or sick, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.
- Be especially careful during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays. This is when many tragedies occur.
- Use drive-thru services when available (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.) and pay for gas at the pump.
For further details about ways to keep children safe in and around vehicles, please visit www.KidsAndCars.org.
SAFETY TIPS FOR PETS
Instead of risking your dog’s life by leaving man’s best friend in the car, here are five alternatives.
- Use the drive-through for errands when possible.
- Bring a friend to play with your dog outside while you’re inside running an errand.
- Shop at pet-friendly stories where your dog is welcome to browse with you.
- Eat at outdoor cafes where your dog can join you.
- Leave your dog at home, where it’s cool and safe.