(Coppell, TX) – With the intense heat of summer, come dangers for kids and pets. As Texans begin taking summer road trips, AAA Texas reminds drivers about the consequences of leaving people or pets in hot vehicles. Temperatures inside a car, even on a mild, sunny day, can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes. Children are particularly susceptible to heatstroke because their bodies can heat up five times faster than adults. Heatstroke deaths have been recorded in 11 months of the year in nearly all 50 states. More than half of heatstroke deaths occurred when a distracted caregiver forgot a quiet child was in the vehicle.
Animals are equally impacted by summer heat. Dogs are not able to sweat like humans do, but instead cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paws. If they have only overheated air to breathe, they can collapse, suffer brain damage and die of heatstroke.
While you can’t control the heat, you do have some power to help protect you, your family, and your vehicle. Be sure to take the following precautions:
- Never leave children or animals unattended in a car, not even for a short period of time. Outside air temperatures in the nineties can rise to 125 degrees inside the vehicle very quickly and can cause brain damage or death.
- Create reminders and habits that give you and caregivers a safety net. Leave an item needed at your next stop in the back seat so you don’t forget about your loved one.
- Take action if you see an unattended child or pet in a vehicle. Dial 911 immediately and follow the instructions of emergency personnel.
- Make sure all child passengers have left the vehicle after it is parked.
- Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway.
- Never leave keys and/or remote openers within reach of children.
- When parked, use a sun shield to cover the windshield to minimize heat buildup and to help protect the car’s interior. Cover metal and plastic parts on seat belts and child safety seats to prevent burns.
- Open the vehicle’s doors and let the interior cool for a few minutes before entering.
- Remember to remove electronics such as cell phones, iPods, etc. from your vehicle, as the high heat can drain the batteries and possibly damage internal components.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA Texas can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.