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Cars and heat can be a deadly combination for young children and pets

By Chelsea Humphrey, chumphrey@ktxs.com
Published On: Sep 09 2013 08:24:21 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

An average of 38 children die every  year, nationwide, from being left in hot cars. The number is much more for pets.

Even the best parents and caretakers can become distracted or think that a few minutes in a car won't hurt.  In the West Texas heat, that mistake can be deadly.

Within ten minutes on a hot, sunny day in Texas, the temperatures inside a parked car can reach deadly levels.

The danger is greatest for young children and pets because their bodies heat up faster and regulate temperatures differently.

According to Dr. Jami Adams with Abilene Regional Medical Center, "it doesn't take very long at all for the car to heat up so much that the child just can't, the body can't handle it anymore".

According to Texas Law, a child can be left in the car without you, but not for very long.

"If the child is under the age of 7 and not supervised by someone that's 14 or older, we're gonna have a violation if the child is left in the car for more than 5 minutes." says George Spindler with the Abilene Police Department.

The best course of action, especially in the heat, is to simply take your kids with you whenever you leave.

To avoid forgetting them, try to leave visual reminders like a purse or cellphone in the back. This way you'll remember to look back before you get out of the car.

When it comes to pets, owners should be just as cautious.

If you're going somewhere where pets won't be welcomed, consider making the extra trip to drop them off at home.

If you think you see a child or pet who may have been left alone in the car, call 9-1-1 immediately and wait by the car until an officer shows up.