With warmer weather right around the
corner, health officials from the El Dorado County Health and Human Services
Agency (HHSA) are reminding residents never to leave children or pets unattended
inside vehicles, even for a few minutes. “Each year, children and pets die in
hot cars,” said El Dorado County Health Officer, Dr. Nancy Williams. “It is
important that everyone take precautions in order to avoid these injuries and
Temperatures inside vehicles can climb
quickly, especially on hot days, and even with the windows partially down. “Heat
stress or stroke, irreparable brain damage and death can follow shortly
thereafter,” said Williams. “Parking in the shade is also not recommended
because the sun can move and directly expose a vehicle.”
California law allows law enforcement and
animal services officers to take swift action to remove a child or animal in
distress inside a vehicle. The individual(s) responsible for leaving a child or
pet in danger in a motor vehicle can be cited, and they can face fines and jail
time. Felony charges can apply if the child or pet is seriously injured or
dies. In addition to heat-related injuries, children and pets left unattended
in vehicles can be subject to carbon monoxide poisoning, runaway vehicles,
abduction and other dangers.
These safety rules can help prevent
heat-related injuries and other vehicle dangers:
leave a child, pet or vulnerable person (such as an elderly or medically frail
person) alone in or around a vehicle.
to make sure all children leave the vehicle when you reach your destination,
particularly when loading and unloading. Do not overlook sleeping infants.
a reminder of your child or pet’s presence where you would be sure to see it
before leaving the vehicle.
leave a child in a vehicle with the motor running or the key in the ignition.
car keys away from children at all times.
lock your car, even at home, and remind your friends and neighbors to do the
same. Children die every year when they get into unlocked cars on their own and
cannot get out.
children not to play in, on or around cars.
your pet from your vehicle when returning home.
not transport an animal in a trunk of a vehicle nor in the bed of a pick-up
truck in hot weather. Animal’s paws can burn on an extremely hot day.
911 if you observe a child or vulnerable person in distress in an unattended
El Dorado County Animal Services at (530) 621-5795 on the West Slope or (530)
573-7925 in South Lake Tahoe if you observe a pet in distress in a vehicle.
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