Hot cars dangerous for children and pets

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.- It’s getting hot out, and with summer fast approaching temperatures are expected to continue rising. Heat related illnesses are often a threat this time of year, especially for children and pets left in hot cars.

Last year in Kentucky there were three child hot car deaths, according to, and there were four pet related hot car deaths in the state, according to  people for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Running a quick errand can often turn into a longer venture than expected. Five minutes quickly becomes 15, and by then your child or pet waiting in the car are likely experiencing the sometimes-deadly effects of extreme heat.

“Any length of time in a parked car unmonitored or unobserved is dangerous. So, I would not leave a child even in cool weather in a car unattended,” said Bart Spurlin, director of the emergency department of The Medical Center at Bowling Green.

Exposure to extreme heat for an extended period can have long-term consequences even if it doesn’t lead to death.

“You can have some long-lasting effects of severe heat stroke, which is defined as the body temperature going over 104 degrees, and having some symptoms of neurologic impairment,” said Spurlin

Inside a car it can get a lot hotter than whatever the temperature is outside, which is not only very dangerous for people but also for pets.

“We know you love your pets. Yes, it’s great to be able to take them with you to run a few errands. Unless you’re prepared to leave your car running with the air conditioning on, do what is best for your pet and leave them at home,” said Lorri Hare, director at Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society.

Some states have passed laws that allow good Samaritans to break into a car to save a pet from heat death. A similar law has not passed in Kentucky yet.

“An innocent bystander, even though it was against the law, broke into a vehicle to save this dog. He was definitely in a lot of distress. They called us, we rushed him immediately to one of the local vets in town, and he did not make it,” said Hare

Medical professionals advise a cold bath and drinking cold fluids for children or pets experiencing heat related illness. For more severe circumstances contact 911.