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The Dangers of Leaving Children and Pets in Cars During Extreme Heat

Posted at 6:48 PM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 19:48:27-04

SARPY COUNTY, Neb. — This weekend in Omaha is expected to reach its highest temperatures all year, getting into the upper 90's.

That heat can be dangerous, especially for those left in hot cars.

"It doesn't take very long one, for a car to heat up, and it doesn't take very long for somebody inside a hot car, especially a little one, to overheat," Jeremy Kinsey, Captain of the La Vista Police Department said.

If it is 95 degrees outside, experts say that after a half hour inside a parked car, the heat can get up to 130 degrees fahrenheit, even if you're in a shaded area and the windows are cracked.

If you do see a pet or a child in a hot car, call police.

"100 percent the first thing to do is if somebody comes upon a car and they see either a pet, or a child or a person really that appears to be in crisis, like their having a medical crisis, should be dialing 911," Kinsey said.

And don't rush to break the window. According to the Sarpy County Attorney's Office, you could get sued by the owner of the vehicle, even if you're trying to save a life.

"Use your good judgment, you know that if a child is in danger of suffocating or heat exhaustion or going into any type of medical emergency, take the measures that you need to in order to save their life," Officer Dana Miller of La Vista PD said.

"We can say we will not arrest you but it doesn't mean you won't get sued by the person, because they probably will," Kinsey said.

"I don't think at that point that they should be really worried about suing over a window considering the fact that they've just left their child or their loved one locked in a car, where their life is potentially at risk of death. So they should probably think more about that, not worry so much about the law suit or the window," Miller said.

Officer Dana Miller actually sat in a parked police vehicle for about seven minutes to show the affects of such heat on the body.

"I'm suffocating in this and like it's just getting super hot, I can already feel the sweat going sown my back," she said.

The results will make you think hard about leaving anyone in the car.

"A parent can be faced with a neglect charge, criminal neglect charge, that could face some stiff penalties," Kinsey said.