Summer Is Here, So Don't Leave Your Pets and Kids in the Car

This simple mistake can turn deadly—fast.

MARK RALSTON / Staff/Getty Images

With the days getting hotter and hotter as summer goes into full swing, the number of dangerous circumstances in which kids and pets are left in hot cars is on the rise. Although we may not think of it when driving around in air-conditioned comfort, a car can quickly turn into a deadly oven when left powered-down in the heat for even a few minutes. 

Many people lock their loved ones in the car by accident, as their cars are several years old and lack the safety overrides designed to prevent such incidents from happening, such as key fobs that won't let the cars lock if the keys are inside. However, there are also a select few who simply assume children and pets will be fine for "just a few minutes." If you're one of those folks, well, you should know better.

Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University

As you can tell from this chart, the inside of a car can get real hot, real fast—and bad things can quickly happen to smaller living creatures as a result. (A child's body temperature can rise five times faster than an adults; if their body temperature hits 107 degrees, they can die.) Fortunately, manufacturers like GM agree and have implemented rear seat reminders to prevent potential tragedies from happening. Features like OnStar also allow cars to be unlocked remotely, but this procedure can often take several minutes.

Fortunately, many firemen and police officers are trained on how to jimmy a door open, using either airbags or a metal rod. This method is effective when time is on your side, but if all the windows are closed and it's already 85 degrees out, breaking the window may be the best option. 

Below, you see a video in which the NYPD was forced to break the back window of the car to rescue a child stuck in a car. Another video shows New Jersey State Police doing the same thing—further illustrating that most situations only allow a few minutes before heat stroke sets in.