BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) — The dog days of summer are here and AAA is reminding drivers to keep their kids and pets safe.
At least ten children have died of pediatric vehicular heatstroke this year and 917 children have passed since 1998, according to AAA. Children are at higher risk of heat stroke since their bodies heat up five times faster than adults.
It takes only 10 minutes for a closed vehicle’s temperature to heat up 20 additional degrees.
Here are AAA’s tips to keep your loved ones safe:
- Never leave a child unattended in a car, even for a minute, even if the windows are tinted or down. The same recommendation applies to pets and the elderly.
- Parked cars: always keep doors locked and windows closed, even when the vehicle is in a garage or on a driveway. Make sure keys are safely out of reach so children can’t enter a car to play.
- Make sure all children leave the vehicle when you reach your destination. Be certain no one is inadvertently left behind.
- When you first place a child in a car seat in the back seat of a car, also place your cell phone, purse, or important belongings back there to serve as visual reminders that a child is in the back seat as you exit the vehicle.
- If you see a child alone in a parked car, immediately call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance.
- When it comes to pets and heat, it’s best to leave them at home while running errands on hot days. Dogs can’t sweat like humans, causing them to overheat much faster. Rolling down the window does very little to keep them comfortable.
- Most drivers think battery problems occur primarily in winter, but summer heat can negatively impact your car’s battery even more than the bitter cold of winter.
- Automobile engines work extra hard in the summer, and it is the cooling system’s job to protect the engine from overheating – proper cooling system maintenance is vital to keep the engine cool.
- Driving on under-inflated tires not only affects the handling and braking of a vehicle, it also can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout.
- Cars need fluids during extreme heat too – drivers should check all vehicle fluids including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels.
Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.