With heat warnings issued across the region, AAA Western and Central New York is reminding motorists to be aware of the dangers of hot cars. On average, 37 children die in hot cars every year. While an overwhelming majority of these deaths are accidental, such tragedies are often preventable.

Temperatures inside of a car, even on a moderately sunny day, can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. Children are particularly at risk of suffering from heatstroke since their bodies heat up five times faster than adults.

Children and heat – follow these simple tips to make sure no child is left in a vehicle:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a car, even for a minute, even if the windows are tinted or down. The same recommendation applies to pets and the elderly.
  • Keep doors locked and windows closed at all times, even when the vehicle is in a garage or on a driveway. Make sure keys are safely out of reach.
  • Make sure all children leave the vehicle when you reach your destination. Be certain no one is inadvertently left behind.
  • When you first place a child in a car seat in the back seat of a car, also place your cell phone, purse, or important belongings back there to serve as visual reminders that a child is in the back seat as you exit the vehicle. 
  • If you see a child alone in a parked car, immediately call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance.

Pets and heat:

  • When it comes to pets and heat, it’s best to leave them at home while running errands on hot days. Dogs can’t sweat like humans, causing them to overheat much faster. Rolling down the window does very little to keep them comfortable. 

Cars and heat:

  • Most drivers think battery problems occur primarily in winter, but summer heat can negatively impact your car’s battery even more than the bitter cold of winter – have your battery tested by AAA.
  • Automobile engines work extra hard in the summer, and it is the cooling system’s job to protect the engine from overheating – proper cooling system maintenance is vital to keep the engine cool.
  • Driving on under-inflated tires not only affects the handling and braking of a vehicle, it also can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout. 
  • Cars need fluids during extreme heat too – drivers should check all vehicle fluids including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels.