CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 17, 2019) – As the temperature starts to rise for the spring and summer, AAA Carolinas is reminding motorists to never leave children or pets in the car during the warm days, because it is even warmer inside their vehicles.
The temperature inside a vehicle rises 20 degrees in just ten minutes. Even on a relatively cooler day, the temperature inside the car can rise much higher than the temperature outside. This happens on sunny days as well as cloudy days.
“Both children and animals cannot help themselves if they are trapped inside a quickly warming vehicle, so it is our duty to make sure they’re never put in that situation,” said Tiffany Wright, AAA Carolinas spokesperson. “Cracking the windows does little to stop the temperatures from rising quickly, so from here on through the fall, look before you lock to ensure your child is not in the car when you exit and if you do not plan to take your pets with you at every stop, leave them at home.”
Heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle related deaths for children under the age of 14, with an average of 37 fatalities per year since 1998. There has been an increase in child vehicular heath stroke deaths every year since 2015.
Vehicular Heat-Related Statistics:
- A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body
- A child can die of heat stroke on a 72-degree day
- On a 95-degree day a car can heat up to over 180-degrees
- The steering wheel can reach 159 degrees (temperature for cooking medium rare meat)
- The seats can reach 162 degrees (temperature for cooking ground beef)
- The dash can reach 181 degrees (temperature for cooking poultry)
- At 104-degrees internal organs start to shut down
AAA Urges Motorists To ACT:
- A—Avoid heatstroke by never leaving a child in the car alone, not even for a minute.
- C—Create electronic reminders or put something in the backseat you need when exiting the car – for example, a cell phone, purse, wallet, briefcase or shoes. Always lock your car and never leave car keys or car remote where children can get to them.
- T—Take action and immediately call 9-1-1- if you notice a child unattended in a car.
Animals are not able to sweat when they overheat like people can, so their only defense is to pant heavily. When this fails to be enough, pets can suffer from heatstroke. Below are common symptoms of heatstroke:
- Excessive drooling
- Increased body temperature (above 103 degrees)
- Reddened gums and moist tissues of the body
- Rapid heart rate
- Irregular heart beats
- Stoppage of the heart and breathing
- Fluid build-up in the lungs; sudden breathing distress
- Vomiting blood
- Muscle tremors
In North Carolina, cruelty charges are probable for owners found guilty of leaving any animal in a confined, dangerous condition.
If you pass by a parked vehicle with an animal inside it and no driver in sight, please take action. It is recommended that you:
- Attempt to locate the owner, or if that doesn’t seem feasible/the matter is too urgent:
- Call 911. Any rescue worker (police, animal control, firefighter, animal cruelty investigator, etc.) has the legal authority to enter the vehicle if the animal is believed to be in danger.
- Remain with the animal until help arrives
- If you believe the animal to be in imminent danger and help has not arrived, you should use your best judgment (considering the possible legal ramifications of breaking and entering) to save the pet.
AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 2.2 million members and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.
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