The Dangers of Leaving Kids and Pets in Hot Cars

The Dangers of Leaving Kids and Pets in Hot Cars

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - With the predicted high temps and heat advisory in effect, local officials are warning residents to never leave your child or pet in a hot car. Heatstroke is a serious issue to be mindful of in this warm weather.

Every year there are heartbreaking child and pet fatalities related to heatstroke in vehicles. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, children and pets can get overheated in cars even in moderate temperatures, as the temperature inside a car can easily be double the temperature outside.

On a nice, sunny day in the summer, a 10 to 15 minute errand doesn't sound harmful for any child or pet who patiently waits inside the car.

But a single minute could be more dangerous than you think.

According to reports, approximately 37 children a year die from being left inside hot cars during the summer, and not even air conditioner or a cracked window can help reduce the temperature.

Outreach Coordinator at the Ingham County Animal Control & Shelter Kate Turner said 72 degrees is too hot for any animal to remain in the car and the owner is better off leaving them at home.

"People might think that their errand is only going to take 2 minutes, 5 minutes, a quick in and out to the store but then 20 minutes later, the car's gotten way too hot," Turner said.

There are plenty of misconceptions taken on by parents or pet owners and one of the more popular ones is to just leave the window cracked for air.

Meridian Township Fire Department Lieutenant Paul Cullimore said, "In a 60 minute period with the windows fully closed, temperatures increased 40.3 degrees. With windows cracked, it increased 7.2 degrees, so a 3 degree difference, that's not a lot."

According to the Mayo Clinic a heat stroke can occur if body temperatures reach 104 degrees and small children can reach those heights in a short period of time.

"Right now, being outside in a car at 90 degrees out, that's not safe," Turner said.

Cooling centers such as Meijer and the Meridian Mall are now open to keep citizens away from the unbearable summer heat.

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