Summer Safety Tip: Hot Cars Can Pose Extreme Danger

Wheat Ridge, CO ~ With temperatures well into the 90’s this week, the Wheat Ridge Police Department wants to remind everyone out there about the dangers of leaving children or pets inside of a hot car. According to a study done by the Department of Geosciences at San Francisco State University, there have been at about 560 documented cases of heatstroke deaths of children left in vehicles since 1998. In many cases, the temperature outside of the car wasn’t any more than 70°F.

The same applies to your pets. In most cases it takes only minutes for a pet to succumb to suffocation and heatstroke from being left in a car. Temperatures can rise to dangerous levels in a parked car, even with the windows cracked or down.  When the outside temperature is 70°F, the inside of a vehicle can quickly rise to 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. Animals are unable to sweat like humans; they cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paws.  If they only have hot air to breathe, they are unable to cool their bodies down.

Here are some hot weather safety tips for parents and pet owners:

For Parents

  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle. Not even for a minute!
  • Be sure all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don’t overlook sleeping babies.
  • Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices. If a child is missing, always check the pool first, and then the car, including the trunk. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.
  • Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver.
  • Make “look before you leave” a routine whenever you get out of the car.
  • If you see something, say something. If you see a child unattended in a hot vehicle call 911 immediately.

For Pet Owners

  • Leave your pet at home on warm days.
  • Do not leave animals in cars with the air-conditioning running; on hot days the vehicle may overheat and send only hot air through the ventilation system.
  • Some signs of heat exhaustion may include, heavy panting, rapid pulse, vomiting, dizziness
  • If you see a dog in a vehicle on a hot day, take immediate action and contact local authorities

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