Kids in hot cars - it isn't worth the risk
First responders in Calgary are urging parents to never leave their children unattended in vehicles, and to call 9-1-1 immediately if they see a child unattended in a hot vehicle.
The Calgary Police Service, the Calgary Fire Department and Alberta Health Services have partnered with the Calgary Parking Authority to raise awareness about the risks of leaving children unattended in hot vehicles. Despite a parent’s best intentions, a simple five-minute errand can easily turn into 10, 15 or 25 minutes. With an outside temperature of just 20 degrees, the interior temperature of a car can reach over 40 degrees in under an hour. Seventy per cent of this increase happens in the first half hour, and children will begin to feel distress within just minutes.
“Temperatures inside a vehicle rise rapidly to a point where young children simply cannot cope,” says Naomi Nania, EMS Public Education Officer. “They may suffer heat exhaustion requiring immediate medical intervention. Left untreated, it could advance to heat stroke, which can be fatal. Avoid the risk of exposing children to a serious, potentially life-threatening medical situation: simply never leave a child alone inside a vehicle.”
In addition to the medical risks, police are reminding Calgarians that there may be legal repercussions for parents or caregivers who leave a child unattended in a hot vehicle. The Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act allows police to charge a parent with “causing a child to be in need of intervention.” The penalty is a $25,000 fine or two years imprisonment, or both.
First responders want to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable summer, and offer the following tips to help prevent risky situations:
- Never leave a child alone in a vehicle.
- Call 9-1-1 immediately if you see a child alone in a hot car. If they are in distress, get them out as soon as possible. The longer you wait to contact emergency responders, the higher the risk that the situation could become a medical emergency.
- Always check the front and back seats of the car before you lock it and leave.
- When your vehicle is not in use, be sure to lock it so that children can’t get in without your knowledge.
This year marks the Calgary Parking Authority’s second annual Child Safety Awareness Campaign.
“Hot cars and kids do not mix,” explains Calgary Parking Authority General Manager Mike Derbyshire. “Leaving your child unattended in a parked car during the summer months can have grave consequences and could be the difference between a great summer and a devastating one.”
Details of a media availability to follow.