Calgary, AB,

Calgary first responders issue warning against leaving kids and pets in hot cars

Given recent hot temperatures and as we approach the midway mark of summer, first responders are once again reminding citizens of the dangers of leaving children and pets unattended in vehicles during the summer months. Vehicles heat up very quickly and can pose health risks within a few short minutes.

The Calgary Police Service, Alberta Health Services EMS, and Calgary Fire Department join the Calgary Parking Authority in its third Child Safety Awareness Campaign.

“These warm summer months are meant to be enjoyed. Please don’t risk the life of a child by leaving them in a hot car,” says Glen Furtado, General Manager of the Calgary Parking Authority.

The greatest increase in temperature within a closed vehicle happens in the first 30 minutes and can double in less than an hour. Children will begin to experience heat distress within a few minutes.

“Children suffering heat-related illness may require immediate medical intervention,” said Adam Loria, Public Education Officer with Alberta Health Services Emergency Medical Services. “Left untreated, it could lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal. Never leave a child alone in a car – the risk is too great.”

Members of the Calgary Animal Working Group, which includes, the Calgary Police Service, Calgary Community Standards, the Calgary Fire Department and Calgary 911, have partnered with the Calgary Humane Society, to address the issue of pets left in vehicles during extreme temperatures. They want to remind Calgarians that pets are very vulnerable to the hot temperatures. The impact to their physical wellbeing can be detrimental.

In addition to medical risks, police are reminding Calgarians that there may be legal consequences. Parents and caregivers who leave children unattended in hot vehicles could face charges under the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act. The penalty for causing a child to be in need of intervention is a $25,000 fine, two years imprisonment, or both. Under the Alberta Animal Protection Act and the Criminal Code, charges can be laid for causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal which is a $10,000 - 20,000 fine, 18 months imprisonment, or both.

Calgary’s first responders want to ensure everyone has a safe summer and are offering the following tips to prevent tragedy:

  • Never leave a child or pet alone in a vehicle, even if you think you’ll only be gone for a few minutes.
  • Always check the front and back seats of the vehicle before you lock it and leave.
  • When your vehicle is not in use, lock it so that children cannot get in without your knowledge.
  • Place something, like your left shoe, cell phone or wallet in the back seat of your vehicle, as a reminder to check the vehicle before locking and leaving it.
  • If you happen upon a vehicle with an unattended child inside, call 911 immediately. If possible, get the child out.
  • If you happen upon a vehicle with an unattended pet inside, in extreme weather conditions, call 911 immediately.