Sacramento Metro Fire District has issued a cautionary tale to Sacramento-area residents, reminding all the dangers of leaving children and pets unattended in cars during the summer.
High summer temperatures have prompted Metro Fire officials to remind everyone of "Look Before You Lock," a national awareness campaign focused on saving lives and preventing injuries to children.
According to a Metro Fire release, in 2011 at least 33 children in the United States lost their lives after being left in unattended motor vehicles, and an unknown number of children suffer moderate to severe permanent injuries due to heat stroke each year. The district characterizes the danger as a "tragedy that happens far too often."
The temperature in a car can rise quickly on sunny days to 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit, according to district officials, with smaller size cars being especially prone to a faster increase.
"Every year Metro Fire repeatedly responds to reports of children and pets left inside locked vehicles," said Metro assistant chief Walt White in an emailed statement. "Unfortunately not all survive."
White explained though the act may be unintentional it only takes minutes for children and pets to affected by the overbearing heat, even with windows left opened. District officials urge parents and caregivers of small children to always look in the back seat of their vehicle before locking the doors. Pet owners are urged to leave animals at home on hot days, where they can stay safe from the temperature extremes inside a vehicle.
District officials ask those who do find an unattended child in a vehicle or an animal in distress to call 911, give an accurate location, and if possible, stay with the vehicle until help arrives.