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Never leave a child alone in a car

Did you know there is no safe amount of time to leave a child – any child – in a car alone, but especially during summer when a warm day turns a car or van quickly into an oven hot enough to kill a child?

At 10 a.m. today, Thursday, July 13, the temperature in Louisville was 85 degrees. With a dew point of 75, the heat index was an uncomfortable 93 degrees. In that situation, the temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight can quickly climb to between 130 and 172 degrees, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the greatest increase in temperature happening in the first 30 minutes.

Think about the times you’ve gotten into your closed car on a hot day and grabbed the steering wheel or sat on leather seats, only to recoil from the heat. Now imagine a child whose body warms up three to five times faster than an adult’s enduring that same heat.

Essentially, your car is a greenhouse. It takes a body temperature of only 104 degrees Fahrenheit for heat stroke to occur, and at 107 degrees, the effect is usually fatal.

We get it can be inconvenient to take a child out of a cumbersome car seat for a quick stop, or to take a young child into a store with you when you plan only to dash in and right back out, but the stakes – your child’s life – are too high. And, no, leaving the car windows open won’t make a difference.

It’s not OK to leave the car engine running with the air conditioning on, either. With the engine running a child could accidentally slip the car into gear, risking themselves, pedestrians or other motorists, or they could open power windows, risking falling out of the car.

It’s never OK to leave children – or pets – in a car. Ever.

Don’t think about it. Don’t do it.

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