BOISE – With scorching temperatures across the Gem State expected to top 100⁰F over the next few days, AAA is reminding drivers of the dangers of leaving children and pets in hot cars.

“People are bracing for another busy school year, and routines are being disrupted as new ones are formed.  In the rush to buy school supplies, run errands, and transport family members, distractions increase the chance of accidentally leaving a child or a pet in a hot car, with tragic consequences,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde.  “Please remember to look for people and pets before you leave your vehicle.  From a safety standpoint, there is no such thing as a quick errand that justifies leaving someone in this kind of heat.”

AAA proudly supports the “Look Before You Lock” safety campaign in partnership with the Boise Police Department, Idaho State Police, St. Luke’s, Ada County Paramedics, Meridian Fire Department, the Idaho Transportation Department, the Idaho Humane Society, Albertsons, Pioneer Federal Credit Union, and more.

A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than that of an adult, and the inside temperature of a car can rise by more than 20 degrees in as little as ten minutes – even with the windows down, and even if the vehicle is parked in the shade.  This week, with extreme heat warnings in place, the risk of vehicular heatstroke is even higher.  Heatstroke can occur when a child’s body temperature reaches 104⁰F or less.  Death can occur when a body temperature is around 107⁰F.

“Given the relationship that most people have with their cell phones, leave it on the back seat.  That will force you to turn around and look for it and will serve as a reminder to remove children and pets from the vehicle,” Conde said.  “You’ll also be a more engaged driver because you won’t have the temptation to text and email while you’re behind the wheel.”

Parents are also encouraged to:

  • Make alternate arrangements for children and pets rather than leaving them in a vehicle for any length of time.
  • Teach children how to unbuckle their car seat, unlock the front doors, and use the horn and emergency flashers to get help if they are accidentally left in a car.
  • Keep vehicles locked at home, with keys placed out of the reach of children who may play or hide in a vehicle and become trapped.

AAA reminds drivers to keep plenty of water in their vehicles – it can be used for people and pets or to top off a radiator.  Never remove a hot radiator cap – wait for it to cool for at least 15 minutes before carefully opening with a towel or rag.