There’s one thing you can count on practically every year in Georgia, and that is a blazing hot summer. Sometimes we even seem to skip over spring and go from winter straight to summer.
In the midst of sizzling sidewalks and horrific humidity, everyone is at risk from the heat. We all need to take special precautions and make a special effort to protect those we love from summer suffering, too.
One of the biggest summer hazards for children and pets is being left in a hot car. Every year I remind folks not to take pets in the car with them on errands during the summer. And every year I get reports of pets being left in parked cars. This year is no exception.
I have already heard of children and dogs being left in parked cars at grocery stores, department stores, restaurants and malls this summer. The story is always the same: The owner was only going to run in for a minute to pick up one thing and left the windows in the car cracked, thinking the child or dog would be fine.
The reality is children, dogs or cats left in parked cars in the Georgia summer will not be fine even with the windows cracked. A parked car literally turns into an oven during the Georgia summer.
One chart posted on the Internet compared the outside temperature with the temperature inside a parked car. One level compared the outdoor temperature of 90 degrees, which is not uncommon during the summer, with the inside of the parked car that was 143 degrees. No living being can survive 143-degree heat, let alone little children or pets.
So the lesson is to never leave children in a parked car not even for a minute, and to never take your dog or cat with you in the car to run errands during the summer. The pets would prefer to be at home in the air conditioning anyway, and the risk is too great if you take them in the car.
Luckily, there have been people who were willing to get involved and have taken action when they saw a pet locked in a parked car. I know of a lady who saw a dog in a hot car at a shopping center, called 911, waited for the police and witnessed the owner being cited for leaving the dog. I know of a waitress in a local restaurant who saw a dog in a hot car in her parking lot, called the police and waited until an officer arrived.
If you see a parked car with a child or pet inside, do something and do something quick. This is no time to be shy. Call the police, run into the store and alert the manager and, if children or pets are in obvious distress, rescue them.
A parked car and the Georgia summer can be a deadly and unforgiving combination. Please don’t put your loved ones at risk.
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