Death Risk to Leaving Children and Pets in Hot Cars Happens Fast and Far Too Often!

It's hotter than you may think!

Each year, with warm weather, sadly comes tragic cases of children being left in hot cars and dying from heat stroke. In just 2016 alone, 16 children have already died in hot cars, and there have been many other near fatalities! But hot cars do not need to be a danger to kids, if parents can keep their cool.

On average, 37 children die of heat stroke each year after being left in a hot car, according to KidsAndCars.org. While it may be hard to imagine, many deaths have occurred when over-stressed parents forgot that their children were in the backseat.

Even 70 degrees can be a life or death situation for small children and pets! Use this chart as a helpful reminder.

Even 70 degrees can be a life or death situation for small children and pets! Use this chart as a helpful reminder.

Hot-car tragedies often occur because there has been a recent change in a driver's routine. If stressed, a parent or caregiver can sometimes forget that their child is even in the car.  Worse yet, some consciously leave children "just for a minute" to do an errand (running into a store, etc.) not realizing how quickly the temperature in a car can rise to dangerous levels. (see chart above)

Even if it's only 70 degrees outside, a car can quickly heat to more than 104 degrees +. Jennifer Stockburger, Consumer Reports' Director of Operations, says researchers are working on devices such as weight sensors or heartbeat monitors to detect the presence of a child in the backseat, but currently there is nothing to warn a driver that a child has been left behind. Though some child seat manufacturers are now working to incorporate technologies into the child seat itself.

If you take time out to have kids, then take the time to look after them!

Tips to Prevent Hot-Car Tragedies

  • Simple rule: Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, not even for a minute. In addition to this danger, it is against the law in many states and jurisdictions.

  • Schedule a cell-phone reminder to yourself to be sure you’ve gotten the children safely to their destination.

  • Make it a habit to check your vehicle each time after existing that all occupants have left or have been carried out when unloading. If you lock the door with a key, rather than a remote, it forces one last look in the car before leaving it.

  • Always lock your car and keep keys and remotes away from children.

  • To serve as a reminder, keep a stuffed animal on the front passenger seat when carrying a child in the backseat.

  • As an insurance policy - place something in the backseat that you would need, such as a purse, briefcase or cell phone.

  • Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up.

  • If you see a child alone in a car, especially if they seem hot, call 911 immediately to help get them out.

Dangers of leaving your dog in a hot car!

Every year, dogs suffer and die when their owners make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car—even for “just a minute”—while they run an errand. Parked cars are even worse deathtraps for dogs: On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes.

Animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paw pads.

If you see a dog left alone in a hot car, take down the car’s color, model, make, and license plate number. Have the owner paged in the nearest building or business, or call local humane authorities or police. Have someone keep an eye on the dog. DO NOT leave the scene until the situation has been resolved.

If the authorities are unresponsive or too slow and the dog’s life appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness (or several) who will back up your assessment, take steps to remove the suffering animal from the car, and then wait for authorities to arrive.

Tips on what to do! 

Watch for heatstroke symptoms such as restlessness, excessive thirst, thick saliva, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and lack of coordination. If a dog shows any of these symptoms, get him or her out of the heat, preferably into an air-conditioned vehicle, and then to a veterinarian immediately. If you are unable to transport the dog yourself, take him or her into an air-conditioned building if possible and call animal control: Tell them it is an emergency.

Provide water to drink, and if possible spray the dog with a garden hose or immerse him or her in a tub of cool (but not iced) water for up to two minutes in order to lower the body temperature gradually. You can also place the dog in front of an electric fan. Applying cool, wet towels to the groin area, stomach, chest, and paws can also help. Be careful not to use ice or cold water, and don’t over cool the animal.

When walking your dog, keep in mind that if it feels hot enough to fry an egg outside, it probably is. When the air temperature is 86 degrees, the asphalt can reach a sizzling 135 degrees — more than hot enough to cook an egg in five minutes. And it can do the same to our canine companions’ sensitive foot pads.

On an 87-degree day, asphalt temperatures can reach 140 degrees, hot enough to cause burns, permanent damage and scarring after just one minute of contact. Rapid burns and blistering can occur at 150 degrees. Hot sidewalks, pavement and parking lots can not only burn paws, they also reflect heat onto dogs’ bodies , increasing their risk of deadly heatstroke.

If you wouldn’t put your dog in a frying pan, please don’t make him or her walk on hot pavement. Always test the pavement with your hand before setting out (too hot to touch is too hot for Spot), walk early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler, carry water and take frequent breaks in shady spots and never make dogs wear muzzles that restrict their breathing

Remember to stay cool in the heat of the moment-- it may save a life!

Paul Maloney

Car Leasing Concierge 1-800-886-1950

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