Bedford Police Provide Safety Tips, Remind Residents about Dangers of Leaving Children and Pets in Hot Cars

Submitted on behalf of the Bedford Police Department

With temperatures approaching 100 degrees on Monday, Chief Robert Bongiorno and the Bedford Police Department remind residents of the dangers of leaving a child, a pet or anyone else in a hot car.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 42 children died from vehicular heatstroke in 2017 — a 63 percent increase from 2015.

Heatstroke is classified as when a person’s core body temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit; a temperature of 107 degrees can result in irreversible organ damage or death. Young children’s bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, thus putting them at higher risk.

“The temperature inside a car can rise quickly and become significantly higher than the temperature outside, even when the weather is seemingly mild,” Chief Bongiorno said. “This makes it extremely dangerous to leave a child or pet in the car, even for a few minutes. Please take the time to read this information and contact police immediately if you ever see a child that has been left inside of a vehicle.”

On a hot day, the temperature inside a car can reach 125 degrees in a matter of minutes. The majority of deaths occur when a parent or caregiver forgets a child in a car, but children also get into cars on their own, and some parents are still not aware of the dangers.

The Bedford Police recommend the following tips from the NHTSA:
Always check the back seats of your vehicle before you lock it and walk away.
Keep a stuffed animal or another memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat.
If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.
If you see a child left in a car, take action immediately. Do not wait for the driver to return or assume that they will be back soon. If the child appears to be in distress, attempt to get them out of the car immediately and dial 911.

Pets should also not be left alone in hot cars. According to the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA-Angell), pets suffer needlessly when left in hot cars, even on moderately warm days. Such actions can result not only in harm to your pet but also fines and possible prison time for pet owners who leave their pets in a hot vehicle.

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