Hot days; big dangers: EMS crews warn of leaving kids in hot cars

Posted at 6:51 PM, Jul 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-06 18:51:38-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- With the hottest temperatures of 2016 expected over the next couple of days, local emergency responders want to remind you parking a vehicle in the hot sun with kids, elders or pets inside is highly dangerous.

Wednesday, the Richmond Ambulance Authority left an SUV in the sun for 30 minutes.  The SUV had its air conditioning blasting, but the engine was then shut off and the vehicle parked.  The interior temperature spiked from 85 degrees to nearly 105 degrees in only half an hour.  Captain Jason Roach with R.A.A. said leaving the young, old, or animals in those conditions even for a short period of time can have dire health consequences.

"You can start to expect some heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and in the worst case scenario heat stroke," Roach said.  "That's one of the scary facts about heat: how rapidly it can impact any environment."

Roach and other emergency responders are urging drivers to remember the acronym A.C.T. to prevent heat strokes in vehicles.

  • A - Avoid heatstroke by never leaving children or elders alone in hot cars
  • C - Create reminders by putting something in the seat next to a loved that you will need at your eventual destination
  • T - Take action by calling 9-1-1 if you see a child or elder alone in a vehicle

So far, 16 children have died in the United States after being left in a hot car, according to a study by San Jose State University.  If it seems like emergency crews will not arrive in time to save someone locked in a hot car, legal experts said citizens do have the right to bust out windows if it is obvious that the person in danger cannot get out of the vehicle on their own and their life is in immediate danger.

"I can't imagine any criminal prosecution for that," said CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone.  "There could be a civil suit by the owner of the car, but I cannot imagine that being successful."