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Why You Shouldn’t Leave Kids or Pets in the Car

dog in car
Eugene Peretz, Flickr

It happens all the time, you see a pet or heaven forbid, a child, in a locked car with the windows cracked on a hot day.

The driver is nowhere to be found…but just how dangerous is it?

Today’s forecast is calling for highs near 95° with the heat index (how it actually feels) will be above 100°.

According to, when the temperature outside hits 90°, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach 119° in as little as 20 minutes.

After an hour it jumps to 133°.

Cracking the windows does little to help. Today, your car is a small oven.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says, “when left in a hot vehicle, a young child’s body temperature may increase three to five times as fast an adult.”

Leaving a child or pet in a hot car for even just 5 minutes can bring on the beginnings of heatstroke.

What are some warning signs of heatstroke?

  • skin that is red, hot, moist or especially dry
  • no sweating
  • a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse
  • throbbing headache
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • confusion
  • irritability
  • acting strangely

Do whatever you have to do to remind yourself that your child or pet is in the car, and to make sure they are with you when you leave the vehicle.

Keep vehicle keys in a safe place where kids can’t get to them…sometimes a curious child will sneak off to ‘hide’ or ‘play’ in a hot car.

If you see a child or pet left alone in a car, call 911. Sure, the parent/owner may come out and yell at you to mind your own business, and no one wants to meddle, but it could save a life.

Be sure that everyone in  your care, pets included, is drinking plenty of water today. (That goes for you, too!)

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