Vehicles in hot weather mean danger for vulnerable passengers

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – With temperatures continuing to rise in Virginia, AAA reminds motorists of the dangers of leaving any living being that cannot help itself unattended in a car, including children and pets.

“Think of your car just like your kitchen oven, where temperatures rise very quickly,” said Georjeane Blumling, spokesperson for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that temperatures inside of a car can climb from 78 degrees to 100 degrees in just three minutes and to 125 degrees in 6-8 minutes. With temperatures rising at the rate of about 20 degrees every three minutes, it is easy to see how a seemingly quick stop can very quickly turn disastrous.”

AAA Tidewater Virginia offers the following tips for motorists:

  • Never leave infants, children or furry friends in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially open.
  • Do not let your children play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them that a vehicle is not a play area.
  • Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away.
  • If you are dropping your child off at childcare, and normally it’s your spouse or partner who drops them off, have your spouse or partner call you to make sure the drop went according to plan.
  • Ask your childcare provider to call you if your child does not show up for childcare.
  • Use reminders like a stuffed animal in the passenger seat or placing you bag in the back with your child or pet.
  • Always lock vehicle doors and trunks and keep keys out of children’s reach. If a child is missing, check the vehicle first, including the trunk.
  • If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call the police. If they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
  • Before entering a vehicle that has parked in high temperatures, open the vehicle’s door and let the interior cool for a few minutes.
  • Cover metal and plastic parts on safety belts and child safety seats to prevent burns.
  • A properly working air conditioning system will also help motorists keep their cool in summer heat.
  • Always have a fully charged cell phone with you if possible in order to call for help if the vehicle breaks down.
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