ST. ALBANS CITY — As temperatures increase, the St. Albans City Police Department wants to remind you to not to leave children or pets in cars.
Sgt. Joseph Thomas, with the St. Albans PD, says when the temperature ticks up the department receives somewhere in the neighborhood of one call a day relating to children or animals left in vehicles.
“We hope that people would use their common sense and if it’s too hot they leave their pets at home or if it is hot then they make sure that their animal has adequate water and windows open and or some sort of cooling for the car,” says Thomas.
According to a 2018 study, published by the University of California, San Diego, on average, 39 US children under the age of 15 die every year from heatstroke because they were left in a hot car. Seventy-four percent of those children are 2 years of age or less.
It’s also illegal in 20 states to leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
“It’s a closed container and it heats up a lot quicker than people think,” says Thomas.
Another 2005 study published in The Journal of Pediatrics found that even rolling down the windows might not make a difference.
When the car windows were closed, the temperature rose 3.4°F per minute, and when the windows were rolled down about 8 inches, the temperature still rose 3.1°F per minute.
According to the study, when parked in the sun, a car’s internal temperature increased from 85°F to 116°F in just an hour, while it reached 101°F in the shade.
“If it’s too hot for you to sit in your car then don’t leave your pet or your kid in your car,” says Thomas.
Thomas says that if you see a child or a pet left in a concerning situation, call police or 911.
“It’s just being conscious of the change in season and aware that pets and children can’t cope as well as adults,” he says.