Police stress don’t leave children and pets in hot cars

LAWRENCE CO. – Local police departments are stressing to never leave a child or pet in a hot vehicle.

While all types of vehicular heatstroke deaths are preventable, the third leading cause of these deaths — knowingly leaving a child in a hot vehicle — is the most preventable.

Children dying from heatstroke in cars, either because they were left or became trapped, has increased in recent years. In 2018 and 2019, a record 53 children died of vehicular heatstroke each year. In 2020, during the public health emergency, 25 children lost their lives in hot cars, and in 2021 five children have died.

“Unfortunately every year we hear these horror stories of a child or pet being left inside a vehicle and suffering from a heat-related medical emergency,” said Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Gregg Taylor. “Remember, never leave your child or pet unattended in a vehicle as inside temperatures can rise in just a matter of minutes. For example, if the outside temperature is in the 70’s, the inside temperature can climb to more than 100 degrees quickly putting a child or pet at risk. Always take a moment and look around your vehicle before exiting so that you know it is safe to secure your vehicle and no child is left behind.”

Chief Deputy Gregg Taylor

“Never leave a child alone in a parked car, even with the windows rolled down or the air conditioning on. A child’s body temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult’s,” added Chief Deputy Taylor. “Never risk a lifetime of regret by leaving your child or pet unattended in a vehicle.”

Many talked to by officers about leaving their child or pet in the car say – ‘It was only for a short time”.

But a “short time” can quickly turn into a tragedy.

Officials say the temperature inside a car can reach more than 115 degrees when the outside temperature is just 70 degrees.

If you see a child alone in a vehicle, Bedford Police Chief Terry Moore says make sure the child is okay and call 911 immediately. 

Chief Terry Moore

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stresses if the child is not responsive and appears to be in distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child – even if that means breaking a window. Indiana does have a “Good Samaritan” law that protects people from lawsuits for getting involved when helping a person in an emergency.

Remember – Kids and hot cars can be a deadly combination. Don’t take the chance.