It only takes minutes for hot cars to become deadly to children, pets inside

Published: Friday, July 19, 2019 @ 10:00 PM

High temperatures will spread across the region this weekend and lead to dangerous heat and experts are taking the time to remind the public that it only takes minutes for a child or pet left in a hot car to become a potentially deadly situation.

With temperatures in the 90s and the heat index above 100 degrees, it does not take long to feel the effects of the sun.

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That is especially true for cars and potentially leaving a child or pet inside, where conditions quickly turn dangerous, or even deadly.

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“You can start to see illness within minutes. Within 10 to 15 minutes you can have a lethal temperature," said Dr. Kendra Engle, emergency physican at Sycamore Medical Center in Miamisburg.

In 15 minutes, the car can become 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature. 

“I see it at work all the time. People out in the parking lot, they’re in a big hurry and they run in and they just leave their kids or pets outside in the car. It’s horrible,” said Cindie Gorman. 

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Some people said they’d take swift action if they came across a child or pet inside a hot vehicle. 

“I’d probably break the windows and get the kid out,” Stephanie Morrell said. 

Ohio’s Good Samaritan law states you can break a vehicle’s window to rescue a child or pet trapped inside without worry of legal repercussions. 

Engle said children younger than 4 are the most vulnerable to the heat. 

“Because under age 4, kids have a high body surface area so they can really absorb a lot of heat but they don’t have a good capacity to sweat so they can’t release the heat,” she said. 

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Even people without kids need to be concerned about their vehicles and children, Engle said.

“Kids are curious. If you have a car in your driveway and you have the doors unlocked there are cases where kids have crawled into the car to play and can’t get out and they’re not found until hours later,” Engle said.