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Never leave children, pets or disabled adults in a parked car

Special to the Courier NWS

Each year, dozens of children and untold numbers of pets left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is an acute condition that occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle. Hyperthermia can occur even on a mild day.
Studies have shown that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, pets and even adults. Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the heating rate.
The effects can be more severe on children because their bodies have not developed the ability to efficiently regulate its internal temperature.
The sun can heat a car to dangerous levels very quickly. The sun's shortwave radiation heats objects that it strikes. For example, a dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures in the range of 180 to over 200°F. These objects (e.g., dashboard, steering wheel, child seat) heat the adjacent air by conduction and convection and also give off longwave radiation which is very efficient at warming the air trapped inside a vehicle. In just over two minutes, a car can go from a safe temperature to an unsafe temperature of 94.3°F. In one test, even though the outside temperature was a mild 80 degrees, the interior of the car reached 123 degrees in 60 minutes.
Tips for parents,
• Touch a child's safety seat and safety belt before using it to ensure it's not too hot before securing a child.
• Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows down, even for just a minute.
• Teach children not to play in, on, or around cars.
• Always lock car doors and trunks - even at home - and keep keys out of children's reach.
• Always make sure children have left the car when you reach your destination.
• Don't leave sleeping infants in the car ever.