Beware: Infants, Pets At high Risk In Unattended Vehicles

Published on May 07, 2019 08:09 AM in Safe Driving
Beware: Infants, Pets At high Risk In Unattended Vehicles

Infants and pets continue to suffer fatalities from being left in unattended vehicles during hot summer months, according to the National Safety Council.

NSC has issued warnings to drivers about the deadly consequences of leaving infants, people with disabilities, elders and pets in vehicles on hot days. In 2018, vehicle-related heat stroke claimed the lives of 51 children--the result of being left inside the cabin on a hot day.

Separately, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates hundreds of pets die annually.

According to the AVMA, the temperature inside your vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. In 20 minutes, it can rise almost 30 degrees. The longer you wait, the higher it goes. Temperatures can reach 110 degrees inside your vehicle on a 70-degree day, according to the agency. 

NSC has created an interactive awareness campaign about why vehicles heat up so quickly, and what drivers can do to prevent such deaths.

“We believe this new training will go a long way toward educating people about pediatric vehicular heatstroke and empowering them with tips so they can avoid behaviors that can lead to these tragic deaths,” said Nick Smith, interim president and CEO of the National Safety Council.

Pediatric vehicular heatstroke isn’t constrained to summer. At least one child left in a hot car death every month last year as well, according to the NSC.

Here are some tips from NSC and other organizations for preventing vehicle cabin-related heat stroke:

  • View the NSC’s “Children in Hot Cars” e-learning course.

  • Keep vehicle doors locked so children cannot gain access to an unattended vehicle.

  • Stick to a routine when turning off and exiting the vehicle to reduce the risk of forgetting a child inside.

  • There is no safe time to leave a passenger, especially children and pets, in a vehicle. Cabin temperatures can rise to deadly levels, even during quick errands.

  • Do not simply roll windows down a few inches. Cabin temperatures can still climb to deadly levels quickly.

  • Check your local laws. California and other states have made it illegal to leave children unattended in vehicles.