The auto club says the temperatures are hotter inside a car on a summer day than on the outside.
Baltimore, Md. (KM) – With temperatures expected to rise to the upper 80’s and low 90’s over the next few days, AAA Mid-Atlantic is strongly reminding residents not to leave children or pets unattended in hot cars. “The reality is a child can die of a heat stroke even on a 72-degree day if left unattended in a car,” says Ragina Ali, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Ali says in many cases, leaving a child in a hot car was not intentional on the part of the adults. “The majority of children that have died in vehicles, 56% of those deaths were because the adults who are responsible for caring for that child simply forgot they were in the car,” she says. “The other 26% of victims were playing in the vehicle; had gotten into the vehicle. It was unlocked and they were inside unattended, and unfortunately, died that way.”
AAA says a car can heat up by 20-degrees is as little as a ten-minutes on a hot day. On a 95-degree day temperatures inside a car can increase to 180-degrees. The auto club says children and pets can succumb to the heat inside of a car on a hot day even with the window cracked open.
Most small children are put in the rear of the car when their parents or guardians are heading out. AAA says place something of value in the back seat of the vehicle before leaving, such as a briefcase, cell phone or a purse. When you arrived at your destination, and retrieve that item of value, you will notice that your small child is in the rear, and you can get the kid out of the vehicle.
When you see a child or a pet inside a car on hot day, Ali says call 911 immediately. But you may need to take other measures if the child or pet is in distress. “Different states have different laws as it relates to Good Samaritan laws and whether or not you can break a window and rescue the child. Our best advice is to take action immediately and call 911,” says Ali. “Unless, of course, you see that that child is slumped over and then that’s a whole another story, than perhaps you should take a different measure.”
AAA says so far this year, four children have died from vehicular heat stroke. In 2021, 23 kids succumbed to heat stroke by being in a hot car. The auto club says 26 children died of vehicular heat stroke in 2020, and 53 children succumbed in 2019.
By Kevin McManus