As Oklahomans get ready for another long, hot summer, AAA reminds parents and care-givers to be especially careful not to leave children or pets in hot, parked cars, even for a few minutes.
“Every summer, we hear the often tragic stories of what happens when youngsters are inadvertently left behind in a vehicle,” said Danial Karnes, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “According to San Francisco State University, the inside temperature of a car can rise 19 degrees in just ten minutes. On a summer day in Oklahoma, the inside temperature of a car can reach more than 100 degrees in a very short time. Heatstroke can occur in an adult when the temperature reaches 104 degrees and death can occur at 107 degrees. For a child, it’s even less.”
Children can not only be injured by being left in a hot car, but can also be injured by being trapped in a hot car. A car can be an inviting place for a child to play. It is important to make sure cars are locked when not in use.
“Pet owners should also realize the danger of leaving pets in hot cars. Cracking a window or parking in the shade is not enough,” Karnes said. “Before traveling with a pet, think about your route and any stops you’ll be making. Pets may be safer left at home.”
Here are AAA’s best hot car safety tips:
- Never leave a child unattended in a car, even for a minute, and even if the windows are tinted or down. The same applies to pets and the elderly.
- Never leave car keys where children have access to them.
- When vehicles are unoccupied, keep doors locked and windows closed at all times, even when the vehicle is in a garage or on a driveway.
- When you first place a child in a car seat in the back seat of the car, also open the glove compartment door, flip down the passenger side visor or put a purse in the back seat. These actions can serve as visual reminders that a child is in the back seat.
- Make sure all children leave the vehicle when you reach your destination. Be certain no one is accidentally left behind.
- If you see a child alone in a locked, hot parked car, immediately call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance.