Drivers are warned to protect people and pets from dangerous hot vehicles

BOISE – (July 10, 2018) – As the thermometer climbs during the summer heat, AAA warns drivers about the dangers of hot cars. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a child dies of heatstroke every ten days from being left in a hot car.

“The sad thing is that these tragedies are completely preventable,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “Some drivers get distracted, and forget that they brought a child or pet with them.  Others justify their actions by saying it’s a ‘quick errand.’  In the process, they put their own convenience over the safety of others.  Both can have deadly consequences.”

AAA says adults sometimes fail to perceive the dangers of hot cars simply because they don’t experience heat in the same way as children or pets. A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s.  Further, a car interior can heat up by 20 degrees in as little as ten minutes, even in shaded areas and even if windows are partially down.

Heat fatalities can occur when the air temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit or less, and heatstroke has been documented in temperatures as low as 57 degrees.

In support of NHTSA’s National Heatstroke Prevention Day on July 31, AAA reminds motorists to avoid dangerous situations for people and pets:

  • Leave a reminder. “Add something bright and obvious to your keyring that will remind you to check for pets and children before you leave your vehicle,” Conde said.
  • Short errands are too long. Bring children with you, even for quick activities.
  • Lock it up. Keep your vehicle locked at all times, and keep the keys out of the reach of children. In 28 percent of cases, children got into the vehicle on their own, and were not able to get out. Children should never be allowed to play in a parked vehicle.
  • Take prompt action. If you see a person or a pet at risk, call 911 right away to report the emergency and to receive further instructions.

“Summer should be joyful,” Conde said, “but it takes responsible adults to keep it that way.”