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TOWSON, MD (Tuesday, July 7, 2020) –– Temperatures over 90 degrees are predicted through the end of the week and if you think it’s hot outside, it’s even hotter in your car.Every nine days, across the United States, a child dies while unattended in a hot car. It only takes a few minutes for a car to heat up and become deadly to a child or pet inside. As summer temperatures rise, more kids are at risk – seven children in the U.S. under the age of five have died in hot cars since the beginning of the year.
Heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle related deaths for children under the age of 14, with an average of 39 fatalities per year. AAA has joined with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind parents and caregivers about the deadly consequences of leaving children in hot cars and to urge them to “look before you lock.” Heatstroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.
“In the summer heat, a vehicle’s interior can reach lethal temperatures very quickly, essentially creating an oven, causing a child’s internal organs to shut down if left unattended inside,” said Ragina C. Ali, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.“Young children or pets should never be left alone in a vehicle under any circumstances. Make it a routine to look twice and check the back seat for children before you leave and lock the car. If you have to put a reminder post-it note on your dashboard, an alarm on your phone or a stuffed animal in the front seat to remember to take a child out of the car, do it.”
In the past three decades, 949 children left in vehicles have died of heatstroke, hyperthermia, or other complications. Locally, 14 of those deaths occurred in Maryland.Studies have shown about 56% of child hot car deaths in vehicles were caused by adults forgetting the children, and 26% of victims were playing in an unattended vehicle.
Some scary statistics:
AAA Mid-Atlantic Urges Motorists To ACT:
When it comes to heatstroke, your animals are also at risk. Leaving them in a vehicle while you run into a store, take a break at a rest stop during a family road trip or for any other reason, can have deadly consequences. Make no mistake – just because your pet can’t tell you they are in distress, doesn’t mean they aren’t. Animals left in hot cars can face irreversible organ damage, heat stroke, brain damage and, in extreme cases, death.
Signs of heatstroke in dogs and cats can include:
Animals are also at more risk when they have factors like age (very young, very old), obesity, poor heart/lung conditioning, are a short-nosed, flat-faced breed, or have a thick hair coat.
AAA Mid-Atlantic’s efforts to make all drivers aware of this issue include a video showing just how hot the inside of a vehicle can become.
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