Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Dangerous heat in cars can be lethal to kids and pets. But you knew that, right?


With the summer sizzle underway and heat indices in triple digits on most days, the National Weather Service offers important reminders to keep people and pets safe.

It seems like a no-brainer, don’t leave anyone or any pet in your vehicle.

But so far this year, 18 children have died nationwide after being found in a hot car. And hundreds of pets die each year from heatstroke because they are left in a car by their owners.

While most of us know the dangers of a hot car, the National Weather Service warns that this time of year all of us need a reminder.

The temperature inside a car can reach critical levels putting people and your pet at risk of serious illness or death in less than 10 minutes, even on a day that doesn't seem that hot to you.

Even in the winter months, too.

Children can be left accidentally in the car or may find their way into one while playing and unable to get out. With the hot and humid weather, vehicle temperatures can reach lethal levels in a very short time.

Small children can't remove their own clothing, tell people they're too warm, or get out of a car seat or vehicle without assistance.

Dogs can't sweat to cool down, and their body temperature can rise to dangerous levels even if the windows are cracked.

Heatstroke is a medical emergency that can lead to brain damage or death if not treated immediately. In 2023, 29 children died from heatstroke in cars.

Let's talk about dogs. All dogs begin to experience heat stress when the air temperature exceeds 85 degrees. At 6 minutes, a dog can already start to exhibit signs of heat exhaustion.

On a 70-degree day, the temperature inside of your car can climb to 90 in just 10 minutes. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the temperature inside can rise almost 30 degrees in 20 minutes.

In about an hour, the car temperature can exceed the temperature outside by 40 degrees.

So, even on a comfortable, 70-degree day parked in the shade, the temperature inside can top 110 in an hour.

Let's say you have to make a stop at the store and you'll be inside for just 20 minutes while it's 80 degrees outside. In that time, the temperature inside your vehicle will climb to 109. On a 90-degree day, just 10 minutes equals that same 109 degrees.

  • Here are some tips to keep people and pets safe in hot vehicles:
  • Never leave children or pets unattended.
  • Check the entire vehicle: before locking the doors to ensure everyone is out of the car, especially in the back seat.
  • Put something you need in the back seat. This will encourage you to open the back door when you arrive at your destination.
  • Use a car with sensors. Some cars have apps that can alert you if someone is in the back seat.

A good rule of thumb? When it's 70 degrees or hotter, don't take Rover. And always look before you lock. That way all pets and people can be safe.

Copyright 2024 Storm Center


Leslie Hudson