The real dangers of hot cars in summer
Young children and pets are especially susceptible to heat.
A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body. For this reason, it is extremely important that caregivers understand the implications of leaving kids in hot cars.
Young children and pets are especially susceptible to the heat because their bodies don’t have the same internal temperature control as an adult’s. In fact, for the most part, dogs and cats can’t even sweat.
Every year, an average of 37 children die from being locked inside a hot car in the U.S. It takes just 10 minutes for the heat inside a car to increase by 19 degrees and continue to rise. To keep children safe in and around vehicles, you have to take the appropriate precautions.
Hot car safety tips
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the window cracked.
- Call 911 immediately if you see an unattended child in a vehicle.
- Set your cell phone or your computer to ask you a reminder question such as “Did you drop your child off at child care today?”
- Place an item that you always take from the car into your destination in the backseat with your child.
- Always “look before you lock.” Get in the habit of checking the backseat every time you get out of the car. Check even if you know your child is not with you. This will make looking before you lock part of your normal routine.
- If your child is missing, check vehicles and trunks first.
- Teach your children never to play in any type of vehicle to prevent them from accidentally locking themselves in a vehicle without your knowledge. Lock all doors and windows to every vehicle parked at your house.
Good Samaritans protected when rescuing children in danger
Tennessee has passed legislation to protect good Samaritans who break into vehicles to rescue children left in hot cars. People who break into cars to rescue a child in danger will not be subject to paying damages.
If a person determines that if a vehicle is locked, and there are no alternatives to getting to a child left in a car, they will be exempt from paying damages. The individual must also call 911 or other law enforcement before they break into a car. It is a misdemeanor in Tennessee to leave a child alone in a car.
The mid-state is experiencing dangerously high temperatures and high humidity. Cars can heat up very quickly. Parents and other caregivers are seriously urged to pay close attention to the children riding in their cars to prevent heatstroke or death.