Commentary: A parked car in summertime is no place for kids or animals

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By People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Even if you’ve heard it a million times, lives continue to be lost and the message bears repeating: on a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to well over 100 degrees in just minutes, even with the windows slightly open— a fact that Escondido activist Paola Potts is well aware of. She has made it her mission to prevent children and dogs from dying in hot cars.
According to a San Francisco State University study, more than 560 children have died in hot cars between 1998 and 2012.

PETA receives reports every year about panicked animals who have died painfully inside cars during the spring and summer months. That’s why PETA has joined Potts’s campaign to alert residents to the dangers of leaving anyone in a parked car unattended during hot or warm weather by sponsoring Potts’s signs that read, “Warning: Heat Kills or Injures Children and Pets in Parked Vehicles,” and list two California laws that call for fines and imprisonment for violators.
“This initiative sets out to save the most vulnerable among us— children and animals, who need and deserve all the protection they can get from summer heat exhaustion and fatalities,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “A lifesaving rule of thumb is never to leave a child or an animal in a parked car, especially on hot— or even just warm— days, no matter how quick you think your errand will be. Delays can be deadly, and there’s no going back from death. Always leave dogs at home during a heat wave.”
When a child is left in a hot vehicle, his or her body temperature can increase three to five times faster than an adult’s. Last summer, a 4-month-old died after being left in a hot car in El Cajon. Because dogs can cool themselves only by panting, they can succumb to heatstroke in just 15 minutes and can sustain brain damage or die as a result.
In a video for PETA, actor Elisabetta Canalis draws attention to what animals experience as they succumb to heatstroke (peta.org/features/model-elisabetta-canalis-trapped-summer-scorcher), but the reality is far worse, as grieving owners, veterinarians, and animal-control and police officers can attest.
For more information, please visit PETA.org .