Summer brings with it fun vacations and trips to the beach. Sadly, the warmer months also usher in unnecessary and preventable deaths of children and animals left in hot cars.
According to kidsandcars.org, an average of 38 children per year die from being left in a hot vehicle. The number reported for 2019 has already reached 13, with a record breaking 52 reported from the previous year.
Pets suffer from similar fatalities. Despite the news reports each year, these preventable deaths continue to occur.
Even if the weather seems mild, even if there’s a light breeze and you only plan to be gone for a minute, the rate at which temperatures can rise inside a hot car is no joke — windows cracked and all.
According to PETA, “On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to 100 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 109 degrees in less than 10 minutes.”
Of course these might just look like numbers to anyone who has not experienced the misery of what it’s like to be left in a hot vehicle.
We’ve seen the ads and commercials. We’ve witnessed it happen to others. We know the warnings. Whether leaving a pet or child is intentional or due to distractedness doesn’t change the heartbreaking outcome.
Now a veterinarian has filmed an experiment to prove how serious and life-threatening a hot car can be to humans and animals alike.
In a viral video originally shared by Dr. Ernie Ward in 2012, the vet can be seen climbing into a vehicle with the windows rolled down an inch or two.
“I mean, this kills. And it’s a lousy way to die,” Dr. Ward said. With a timer in one hand and a temperature gauge in the other he demonstrates how quickly the car can heat up.
After just ten minutes Dr. Ward noted the heat was “unbearable” and had already reached 106 degrees. He made a point to say that despite the windows being cracked and the visible breeze outside, the inside of the car did not get that same breeze.
By the time the clock reached 20 minutes, Dr. Ward showed that the temperature remained above 110 degrees. He added that dogs cannot perspire or fan themselves, making the experience all the more miserable for them.
“What would it feel like to a dog to be stuck in a car?” he asked. “You know, you’re helpless. You have no control over what’s happening.”
The same goes for a child in a hot car as well. “Your body is getting so overheated that you could be in real danger,” he said.
“Thirty minutes in a parked car with the windows cracked,” Ward said in the end. “The temperature is about 116.”
Hot vehicles are not a joke. Even a few minutes can be “unbearable,” as Dr. Ward mentioned.
“Never, ever leave your pet in a parked car during warm weather,” he urged.
The same goes for the kiddos as well. Always leave the vehicle locked when it’s parked at home so older children can’t climb inside. And “look before you lock” when exiting the car wherever you are. Don’t become part of a heartbreaking statistic.
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