Boise, ID- Released by (May 18, 2023) – With temperatures rising across the state, AAA is reminding drivers about the dangers of leaving children and pets in hot cars.
On average, a child dies every seven days from being left in a hot car, with many more emergencies and hospitalizations in addition to that number.
“A child’s body heats up 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s, and the internal temperature of a car can increase by more than 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes. That’s a recipe for disaster, especially during the summer,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “We urge parents to always bring their kids into a store. Even a quick errand can take longer than you think, especially if you’re distracted and in the comfort of an air-conditioned building.”
Heat fatalities can occur when the outside air temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit or less, even with the windows cracked and with the vehicle parked in the shade. Heatstroke begins when a child’s body temperature (and the inside temperature of the car) reach about 104 degrees, and death can occur around 107 degrees. Even in the course of several minutes, the inside of a car can turn deadly.
Here are some of AAA’s tips to prevent vehicular heatstroke:
- Never leave children or pets in a car, especially during the summer. Make alternate arrangements as needed.
- In many heat-related tragedies, the caregiver forgot that the child was in the car. Leave your phone in the back seat near the child – not only will you avoid dangerous distractions behind the wheel, but the reminder to look for your phone could save a life.
- Teach children how to unbuckle their car seat in an emergency, honk the horn, turn on emergency flashers or hazard lights, and how to unlock the front doors.
- Keep your vehicle locked at home, with key fobs placed far enough from your car that it can’t be opened by children who are hiding or playing.