It’s called hyperthermia or heatstroke, and it can happen faster than you ever imagined. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department reminds people that children or animals left inside a vehicle can quickly overheat, resulting in devastating injuries, permanent brain damage or death. On average, 37 children die in hot cars each year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles. Since 1990, more than 700 child vehicular heat stroke deaths have occurred in the U.S.
It is never alright to leave kids or pets in a vehicle. Cracking your window will do little to cool the inside of a vehicle. Children and pets overheat four times faster than adults. On a day that is just 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature (inside a car) can increase by 40- 50 degrees in less than an hour, and 70% of this increase occurs in the first 30 minutes.
Safeguarding your loved ones from the dangers of being locked in a car starts with prevention. Never leave your child or pet unattended in a vehicle, no matter how short a period of time. Take your children and pets with you when you get out of the vehicle. Shop at pet-friendly stores so your pet(s) can come with you. If that is not possible, leave pets at home where they are safe. If you see a child or animal alone in a car, call 9-1-1 and stay with the car.
The Santa Barbara County Fire Department reminds citizens that when simple things are overlooked, tragic consequences can result. Never leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle.