Lexington firefighters reminding you should never leave children and pets in hot cars

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – When the temperature goes up, so does the danger of children left in hot cars.

According to the National Weather Service, 24 children died across the county in a hot car last year. It reported there’s already been a death this spring in April.

“We’re not afraid to break windows if we have to in order to save a life,” said Battalion Chief Jordan Saas with the Lexington Fire Department.

Saas said it doesn’t take long for your car to heat up.

“The temperature in a car can rise 20 degrees within just ten minutes,” said Saas.

Temperatures can quickly become dangerous, especially for a child.

“A child’s body shuts down, and they die essentially when their body temperature’s 107 degrees,” Saas explained.

He said a child’s body does not react the same to heat as an adult’s.

“In fact, their bodies warm up 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s body,” he said.

Saas said the fire department responds to several calls about children or pets locked in hot vehicles during the warm months.

“Bystanders that walk by and see a child or pet alone in a vehicle also have a responsibility as well,” said Saas. “If they see something, they need to call 911 immediately.”

A change to your normal routine can make it easy to forget you have a child in the back seat. Saas suggested putting something in your backseat that you always grab, like a purse, forcing you to look in the back before getting out of the car.

“[If] a child is given in to the care of somebody else and you’re trusting them to drop them off, check with that caregiver and make sure that child was dropped off,” Saas said. “Don’t wait until after lunch to do that.”

Saas said it’s important to teach children that a car is not a toy and that it’s not a place to play “hide and seek.”

“If a child goes missing, parents should always consider checking the trunk of a vehicle or the seats, the floorboards of the vehicle as well,” he said.

Saas added cracking your windows or parking in the shade doesn’t stop a car from getting dangerously hot quickly. The bottom line, you should never leave your child or pet alone in the car.

Make sure you “Look before you lock.”

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