High Temperatures Hazardous for Children, Pets

With daily high temperatures rising, the Las Cruces police and fire departments remind motorists that excessive heat can cause death or serious injury to people and pets left in an enclosed vehicle.

Research shows that the interior temperature of an enclosed vehicle can rise more than 19 degrees Fahrenheit after only 10 minutes in the sun, 34 degrees after 30 minutes, and 45-50 degrees in about one hour. The rapidly increasing interior temperature of a vehicle can cause injury to people and pets, even when outdoor daytime temperatures are in the 80s or low 90s.

Studies show the practice of leaving a vehicle window partially open, or ‘cracked’ as it is often called, does little to no good in decreasing the interior temperature. And days that are overcast offer shade, but little to no help in keeping a vehicle cool enough for pets of children.

People can be critically injured or killed when the core body temperature reaches 104 degrees. A body temperature of 107 degrees is considered to be lethal.

The Las Cruces police and fire departments offer these safety tips.

• Do not leave pets or people (sleeping babies, children, elderly) in a vehicle – even with the windows down or cracked.

• Place a purse or wallet in the back seat as a reminder that your child is in the car.

• Do not leave pets in the bed of a pickup as surface temperatures can rise quickly.

• Don’t let shade, breezes, windy weather or cloudy days fool you. Warm temperatures and the lack of circulation inside an enclosed vehicle on a warm day, even after sunset, can be deadly.

• Avoid leaving your vehicle running and unattended simply to keep the air conditioning on, such as to run into a convenience store. The vehicle could be stolen in seconds.

• Avoid overexertion of dogs like walking/jogging them during the heat of the day. Remember that sidewalks and pavement retain heat long after the sun goes down.

• If possible, bring your pets indoors during the hottest part of the day.

• Provide proper shade and ventilation, and plenty of fresh water daily for pets.

• Always lock your car when leaving it unattended and teach children that vehicles are never to be used as play areas.

• Check on neighbors and the elderly to ensure they have adequate circulation and cool air in their home.

• Call 911 immediately if you see a person or pet left unattended in an enclosed vehicle – or if they are otherwise suffering from excessive heat.

• Seek immediate medical attention for people or pets who are suffering from excessive heat.

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