ST. GEORGE — With temperatures in Southern Utah rising as the summer gets into full swing, it’s important to remember not to leave children and pets inside cars.
According to HeatKills, the average temperature inside a car rises almost 20 degrees when the vehicle has been resting for 10 minutes.
“We see it a lot with animals, people do it to their animals all of the time,” St. George Police Officer Tiffany Atkin said. “Sometimes they’ll do it with their kids, but I’d say most of the time with the kids they leave the car running. As a mom of four kids, I get it, but it’s a risk leaving a child in a running vehicle.”
Atkin asked people to put themselves in the child’s or animal’s shoes. Even cracking the windows won’t make a big difference in temperatures, according to Red Rover.
“I wouldn’t want someone to leave me in the car with the windows up,” Atkin said. “It heats up so quickly that it’s just not a good idea. I get it, we all are busy, and it’s a pain to get the kids out or not take the dogs, but we’ve got to think of them first.”
For KONY Country host Amy Chesley, this cause hits close to home. Recently, her son was playing a game of hide and seek and told her that he had found the best hiding place ever. Chesley then found out her son had been hiding in the trunk of a car in the garage.
Chesley said her son’s face was red, and he was only hiding in the car for about five minutes before getting out.
“I asked him what made him want to get out and he said, ‘Mom, I started to get really sleepy and I was sweating so bad,'” Chesley said. “It was the moment where he almost fell asleep that he thought he better get out.”
After she found out about his hiding place, Chesley made sure to talk with all of the children involved about the risks of being in a car for too long, also explaining to them why pets should not be left in cars as well.
In the United States, there is an average of 39 child deaths per year due to heatstroke because they were left in a vehicle, according to Injury Facts. The years 2018 and 2019 saw the highest number of deaths, 53 and 52 respectively, in the past two decades. According to PETA, there have been 63 animal deaths since 2019 that have been attributed to heat and being left in hot cars.
Not leaving children or pets in vehicles is especially important this time of year. An excessive heat watch is in effect from July 11-12 in Kane, Garfield and Washington Counties.
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