Hot weather hazardous for children and pets in parked cars

Hot weather hazardous for children and pets in parked cars


AURORA, IL—As outside temperatures soar, temperatures inside a vehicle parked in the sun can range from 140º F. to 192º F., according to tests performed by AAA Chicago.

The following are tips to remember even when temperatures outside seem moderate:

l Never leave children unattended in a vehicle, even for a few minutes. Heat is much more dangerous to children than it is to adults. When left in a hot vehicle, a child’s core body temperature can increase three to five times faster than that of an adult.

l Never leave your pet unattended in direct sunlight or in a closed vehicle. Heatstroke can occur and lead to brain damage or death. Some signs of heat stroke are extreme panting, excessive salivation and a discoloration of the gums and tongue. Most will be in a state of stupor and may seizure. Remove the pet from the hot environment if possible. If outside, place the pet in the shade. The animal should be kept quiet and sprayed down with cold water. Immediately seek emergency veterinary assistance.

l Lock the doors of your parked vehicle to prevent children from entering.

l Cover metal and plastic seat belt parts, especially on child safety seats, to reduce the chance of burns.

l Cover the dashboard, steering wheel and seats to minimize the heat and effects of the sun.

l After the car has been parked in the sun for a while, open the windows or let the air conditioner cool the interior for a few minutes before entering.

“Children and pets are especially vulnerable,” said Steve Nolan, spokesman for AAA-Chicago Motor Club. “From 1996 through 2000, more than 120 young children died from heat stroke after being left in a hot vehicle.”

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