Dozens of children die in hot cars every year. The number of pets is likely much higher. It's a tragedy that can be prevented in most cases.
What people don't realize is how quickly temperatures can rise inside a closed vehicle. Even if it's 60 degrees outside, a car can still reach temperatures over 110 degrees inside. Cars can heat up 20 degrees in 10 minutes, and rolling down the windows or parking in the shade does little to keep a car interior cool on a hot day.
In Tennessee, it is legal to break a window if you see a child or pet in distress inside a locked vehicle. You must call 911 to inform authorities about the incident.
To demonstrate, East Tennessee Children's Hospital appeared on 10News at Noon and on WBIR's Facebook page on Tuesday. They installed a thermometer inside a vehicle with no air conditioners running.
At the beginning of the show, the temperature inside the car was 78 degrees, similar to when you park your car to go inside the grocery store or into work. Once the air conditioning was off and the car empty, the temperature inside the vehicle quickly rose--- to 150 degrees at the end of the hour!
You can watch the entire experiment here:
Even 10 minutes inside a locked car can be too long, so don't be tempted to leave a sleeping child behind, even for just a few minutes.
Children's body temperatures rise much more quickly than adults, and they can suffer from heatstroke with a body temperature of 104 and die with a temperature of 107 degrees.
Animals will get anxious and panicked when they feel they are starting to overheat, which will cause their heart rate and body temperature to spike.
Darker-colored cars and windows without tinting can heat up even faster than lighter-colored cars with tinted windows.
Leaving a window cracked is not enough. The car will still heat up too quickly for safety.
Parking in a shaded area can slow heating a bit, but it's still not safe.
Not all hot-car deaths can be traced to negligence. Children can and do crawl into vehicles in their own driveways without their parents' knowledge. Experts advise always to keep the car and trunk locked and keys out of site.
Create a reminder for yourself that your child is in the backseat, like putting your purse or briefcase in the back seat
If there is a change in your normal routine, like if someone else is dropping your child off at daycare, always follow up to make sure your child reached the destination
Get more tips here.