Officials warn against leaving pets, children in cars
BY MARY RUMORE email@example.com
With summer temperatures already in the 90s, local authorities are urging residents against leaving children and pets unattended in vehicles.
According to the Kids and Cars Organization database of U.S. National Nontraffic Child Fatalities, 43 children died from heatstroke in a vehicle in 2017 in the country, while 18 children under the age of 14 died in Mississippi from a heatstroke in a vehicle from 1990 to 2017.
“Nationally you see these tragic stories of individuals forgetting their babies simply because of the hustle and bustle of life,” said Starkville Police Department Public Information Officer Brandon Lovelady.
Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can reach 125 degrees Fahrenheit in minutes, and cracking the windows does not help slow the heating process or decrease the maximum temperature, according to Kids and Cars. Eighty percent of the increase in temperature happens in the first 10 minutes, and children have died
from heatstroke in cars in temps as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Temperatures can rise quickly in a vehicle with little or no ventilation in the Mississippi summer,” Lovelady said.
Lovelady said to avoid accidentally
leaving a child unattended in parked car, the driver should leave a necessary personal item in the backseat, such as a shoe, with the child to remind themselves to check the backseat.
West Point Clay County Animal Shelter Director Lisa Henley said leaving a pet unattended should always be avoided, even with the windows rolled down or the air conditioning running.
“Heatstroke is the main concern, and organs can shut down and death occur in as little as 15 minutes,” Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine Community Outreach Veterinarian Dr. Brittany Moore said.
Moore said some short nosed breeds, like bulldogs, who are already prone to respiratory issues can overheat
in as little as two minutes.
Henley said large dogs with heavy coats are also more at risk for heatstroke.
Moore said any animals showing symptoms of heatstroke, such as excessive drooling, panting any body temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.
Henley said putting an animal having a heat stroke in an ice bath or cold water can cause shock and be even more dangerous for the animal.
“Simply put, don’t do it,” Henley said.
Lovelady said if anyone sees a child or animal unattended in a hot vehicle, they should call their local authorities immediately.