Wilton editorial: Hot cars can be deadly

Summer began on June 21, and already there’s been at least one instance of leaving a pet in a hot car. That happened last Friday in the parking lot at the Wilton YMCA. Fortunately, someone called 911 and Animal Control arrived in time. The dog was uninjured, but the interior of the car was 84 degrees, while the outside temperature was 71. As we move into summer, it is only going to get hotter and these situations will become more dangerous. And according to Wilton’s animal control officer, these emergency calls will only become more frequent.
A dog — or any other pet — dying because it was left in a hot car is tragic enough, but what if it is a person left behind?
While it seems like it shouldn’t need saying, inevitably it does. Do not leave anyone, particularly children or elderly people or pets in a closed-up car. Not for five minutes. Not in the shade. Not anywhere, anytime. It doesn’t take much for tragedy to result.
When it’s 70 degrees outside, it can be 120 degrees in a car; and when it’s 80 degrees, it can rise to 150 degrees or 160 degrees, essentially turning the car’s interior into an oven. It’s not unusual for a five-minute stop to turn into 10, 15 or 20.
Children left in a parked car can suffer heat stroke and possibly die. Dogs pant to cool themselves. Left in a hot car they can overheat rapidly and die. Leave your dog at home when you go out to shop or run errands.
Children, of course, can’t be left at home and tragically, some cases of children killed or injured by being left in a hot car are truly accidents. Parents have a lot on their minds and it is easier than one might think to forget a sleeping child in the back seat. One way to prevent this is to get in the habit of checking the back seat every time you arrive at your destination. It’s called “look before you lock.” One way to do this is to put a cell phone, handbag, briefcase, or employee badge in the back seat with the child to ensure you always open the back door when you get where you are going.
Remember, it doesn’t have to feel hot outside to be dangerously hot inside a parked car. If you see a child, elderly person or pet in a locked car on a warm or hot day, don’t hesitate to call the police. You can call 203-834-6260 or simply, 911.