BOISE, Idaho — Idaho's first bout of 90-degree weather is this weekend - with that, AAA Idaho is reminding Idahoans to be mindful of the dangers of leaving children and pets in hot cars.
AAA Idaho said in a statement Thursday that a child dies every seven days from being left in a hot vehicle, with many more emergencies and hospitalizations in addition to that number.
"A child's body heats up three to five times faster than an adults, and the internal temperature of a car can increase by more than 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes," said AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde.
"That's a recipe for disaster, especially during the summer."
AAA warns that heat fatalities can occur when the outside air temperature is as low as 80 degrees Fahrenheit or less, even with the windows cracked and with the vehicle parked in the shade. While 80 degrees may seem tolerable when outside of a vehicle, the temperature is greatly higher inside.
"We urge parents to always bring their kids into a store. Even a quick errand can take longer than you think, especially if you're distracted and in the comfort of an air-conditioned building," said Conde.
Heatstroke occurs when a child's body temperature (and the inside temperature of the car) reaches roughly 104 degrees. Death can occur around 107 degrees. Within the span of several minutes, the inside of a car is capable of turning deadly.
AAA tips to prevent vehicular heatstroke:
- Never leave children or pets in a car, especially during the summer. Make alternate arrangements as needed.
- In many heat-related tragedies, the caregiver forgot that the child was in the car. Leave your phone in the back seat near the child - not only will you avoid dangerous distractions behind the wheel, but the reminder to look for your phone could save a life.
- Teach children how to unbuckle their car seat in an emergency, honk the horn, turn on emergency flashers or hazard lights, and how to unlock the front doors.
- Keep your vehicle locked at home, with key fobs placed far enough from your car that it can't be opened by children who are hiding or playing.
Watch more Local News:
See the latest news from around the Treasure Valley and the Gem State in our YouTube playlist: