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Posted on: June 1, 2020

Keeping Kids and Pets Safe from Vehicular Heatstroke

A young girl in a car seat

Many Arizona residents are returning to work, and summer camps are opening up for all those restless kids. Daily life might not be entirely back to normal, but some routines are coming back into place. One thing that hasn’t changed is the need to be vigilant and be sure that kids and pets are never left in a parked car.

Vehicular heatstroke is the number one cause of deaths in non-collision fatalities for children 14 and younger, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is essential to know that vehicular heatstroke can occur in air temperatures as low as 57 degrees. Interior temperatures can quickly rise to 125 degrees, even with the windows slightly rolled down. Vehicular heatstroke is an entirely preventable tragedy; let’s all do our part.

Keep These Tips in Mind:

  • Always check the front and back of the vehicle before locking the door.
  • Never let children play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them a vehicle is not a play area.
  • Always lock your car doors and trunk and keep the keys out of a child’s reach. If a child is missing, quickly check all vehicles, including the trunk.
  • If dropping a child off is not part of your routine, take steps to remind yourself that the child is in the car:
  • Place your phone, purse, or something you need to take with you in the back seat next to the car seat.
  • Write a note and place it on the dashboard of the car.
  • Set a reminder on your cell phone or calendar.
  • Instruct your daycare provider to call you if your child does not show up.

If you see a child or pet alone in a hot vehicle:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
  • Under Arizona law, it is permissible to rescue a child or pet from a parked car under certain circumstances if you believe their life is in danger:
  • First, call 911.
  • You can gain access to the car, such as by breaking the window.
  • You must stay on the scene until authorities arrive.

For additional information and safety tips, visit our Vehicular Heatstroke website at: MaricopaCountyAttorney.org/VehicularHeatstroke

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