SOURCE: AAA Texas

August 10, 2007 08:00 ET

AAA TEXAS: Triple-Digit Temperatures Blanket the U.S.

It Is Never Safe to Leave Children, Pets or the Elderly Alone in a Hot Car

IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - August 10, 2007) - The record rainfall has finally come to an end and one thing is for certain -- it's hot. Forecasters predict 100 degree temperatures for the next several days here in the metroplex. AAA Texas is reminding DFW motorists of the dangers of leaving children alone in a closed vehicle in this intense heat.

From 1990 to 2006, it is estimated that 111 children died while left in unattended vehicles in Texas. Children can die within minutes in hot temperatures. The same caution applies to the elderly and pets.

"Children under age four are the most at-risk for having their lives endangered by being left in a hot car for any length of time," said Steven Bloch, Ph.D., senior research associate for AAA Texas. "Children should not be intentionally left in a car by an adult, or forgotten because of a distraction. Children also should not be allowed to play in or around cars," he added.

In the last few years, there have been several cases of children who died after being locked in a vehicle during hot weather. Texas law makes it illegal to leave children unattended in a vehicle. A fine or a jail sentence could be imposed.

Children, pets and the elderly are all susceptible to heat illness, heat exhaustion and heat stroke during the summer months. Parking in shade, cracking windows open and tinted windows do not make a difference in the interior temperature of a closed car, according to pediatric researchers.

Doctors warn that if it's a 90 degree day, it could be 130 degrees inside a car. Within minutes, the temperature can climb to 150 degrees. In a short time, a child can become dehydrated with the body's internal temperature climbing above 107 degrees.

AAA Texas urges motorists:

--  Never leave your keys where children can get to them.
--  Keep your doors and windows locked at all times, even in the garage or
    driveway.
--  Never leave a child unattended in a car, even for a minute, and even
    if the windows are down.  The same recommendation applies to pets and the
    elderly.
--  Make sure all children leave the vehicle when you reach your
    destination.
--  Before buckling up your child, make sure the seat and seat belt are
    not too hot.
--  If you see a child locked in a car, immediately call 9-1-1 for
    emergency assistance.
--  Get the child to a hospital emergency room as soon as possible.
--  Never try to treat heatstroke at home with cold water or cooling the
    child in a tub of water.  Only a specialist should treat heatstroke.
    

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