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Summer heat can be deadly

I’m sure you all know that summer heat can be deadly, but with recent reports of dog and child deaths I feel the need to bring it to the forefront of people’s minds.

On any given summer day you can read a news report or Facebook post about a pet or child being left in a car “for a minute” and then tragedy strikes.

I didn’t find an exact number stat on pets dying in hot cars, but articles ranged from “hundreds” to “thousands” annually. It’s a lot.

Research shows more than 36 children die in overheated cars every year in the United States.

Here are some facts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
1. It takes 10 minutes for the temperature in a car to go up 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cracking a window open and parking in the shade aren’t sufficient safeguards.
3. A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s. A child dies with a 107 degree body temperature.
4. Even if it’s in the 60s outside, your car can still heat up to well above 110 degrees.
5. It only takes a 57-degree outside temperature to cause heatstroke.
6. On an 80-degree day, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach deadly peaks in 10 minutes.

My suggestions would be
• If you cannot take your pet into the place you are going, leave it at home.
• Never… ever… leave a child in the car.
Perhaps a teenager, who can recognize and act on the need to get out of a hot car would be okay, or maybe even a ten year old who can reason and act, but NEVER a child young enough to be strapped into a car seat. I remember what a pain it was to wake up a toddler who had fallen asleep in the car just to run into the store for some diapers. It’s tempting to think you will be “right out.” Nope. Don’t do it. You may see a friend and get chatting. You never know. Don’t tempt fate. It’s too dangerous.
• When everyone piles out of the car, be sure to see that each one is in the house, or yard. Make sure they ALL got out of the car.

Also, remember the disabled and the elderly. Check on family, friends, and neighbors on hot summer days. Make sure they are okay. It’s just the right thing to do because summer heat can be deadly.

*Pam Horton is a Board Certified Advanced Christian Life Coach, in the Raleigh area.*

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