Claremore Daily Progress

June 13, 2013

Rising temps pose serious risks for children, pets left in cars

Mark Friedel
Staff Reporter


As rising temperatures reach the 90s this week, citizens are reminded of the serious health risks heat can pose to children left in cars.
Claremore Police Chief Stan Brown said situations when a child or even a pet is left in a vehicle are not taken lightly.
“It’s truly sad when people get so busy they forget a child is in the car, but we understand that it can happen,” said Brown. “We assess the situation very carefully alongside DHS (Department of Human Services) to determine if the act was out of negligence.”
He said if the act is found to be negligent then a case will be reported to the district attorney’s office to determine if criminal charges need to be filed. In Oklahoma, it is against the law to leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
“We encourage parents and grandparents to create reminders and make an effort to always check the back seat when leaving their vehicle,” said Brown. 
According to safety information from AAA Oklahoma, in 10 minutes a car’s interior can rise 19 degrees above that of the outside air. In 90 degree weather, a car’s interior can reach temperatures upwards of 130 degrees. Since 1998, Oklahoma has had approximately 15 children die from vehicular heat stroke, according to information from San Francisco State University’s Department of Geosciences.
No vehicular heat stroke deaths were reported in Rogers County during that time.
In a recent press release, AAA Oklahoma spokespersons reminded parents and caregivers to never leave a child unattended in a car, even for a minute, even if the windows are down. The same recommendation applies to pets and the elderly.
•Don’t allow children to play in an unlocked, parked vehicle. 
•Never leave car keys where children have access to them. 
•Keep doors locked and windows closed at all time, even when the vehicle is in the garage or on a driveway.
•Make sure all children are out of the vehicle when destination is reached.
If someone sees a child alone in a locked, parked car, they should immediately call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance.