Keeping pets and children safe from hot cars

As the temperatures increase as summer approaches, so does the risk of children and pets being left inside hot vehicles.

Posted: Jun. 18, 2018 6:43 PM
Updated: Jun. 18, 2018 11:44 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- With many heat advisories issued the past several days, comes a warning for parents.

As temperatures rise, so does the threat of children or pets being left in a hot car. It is said that temperatures inside a car can rise several degrees in just a matter of minutes.

News 18 decided to put that to the test by putting a thermometer inside a car to see just how quickly a car truly heats up.

So far this year, the National Weather Service says 13 children have already died from being left in a hot car. Even if you run errands and leave the car running with the A-C on, West Lafayette Fire Department Deputy Jeff Need said this is not a good idea.

"You never know what's going to happen. The engine could stop. Many things can happen and the heat just rises so quickly."

So what can you do if you see a child or pet left in a vehicle? Under recent Indiana legislation, bystanders are allowed to break a car's window if they see a child or animal in distress.

Indiana State Police Sergeant Kim Riley said that before breaking the window, check to see if the door is unlocked first. 

"You're not going to be held liable for any civil damages, except you maybe break a window, you could be charged up to one half of the cost of fixing that window," said Riley.

So what type of signs should of distress should you look for in both pets and humans trapped in a hot car?

"As a pet, they're going to progress and get into rapid panting trying to get rid of that heat," said Need. For humans? "Heat exhaustion is usually the first phase you go into. That's where you're cool, maybe cool to the touch, and you're sweaty."

Sergeant Riley's best advice for your furry friends?

"Just leave them at home."

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