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Can you break into a hot car to save a child?

Posted at 11:17 AM, Jun 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-09 21:25:02-04
Within just 10 minutes of shutting your car door, the inside of the car can heat up by 19°, and even with the windows cracked, that can be deadly for a child.
Nearly 40 kids die every year from heat stroke in hot cars. Especially in the summer, children can overheat 3 to 5 times faster than adults.
"There is never an appropriate time to leave your child in the car on purpose," said TFD Captain Barrett Baker. "Ten minutes in Tucson-that car is an oven, and an oven is a death sentence to a child."
If you see a child trapped in a hot car, here's what TFD recommends you do:
  • Call 911 immediately.
  • If the child looks distressed, DO break the window and get the child out of the car and into a cool place.
There is no law in Pima County protecting people who break a car window to save a child's life, but the Pima County Sheriff's Department said if it's reasonable to think the child was in danger, you likely won't be charged.
More than half of children who die in hot cars (54%) are forgotten. According to TFD, many times a breakdown in communication between parents or caregivers is to blame. This is why Baker emphasized having a routine with extra steps to include your child.
"If you have a child that has a little baby blanket, and you put that on your front seat or in your lap, when you get to your destination, you cannot physically get out of the car with having that reminder," said Baker.
He also suggested to do the same with a stuffed animal or another item belonging to your child. Another way to remind yourself: place your purse or cell phone in the backseat next to your child so you will be sure to collect all your precious belongings.
Signs and symptoms of heat stroke: 
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • muscle pain
  • Seizures
  • Lack of sweating
  • Shortness of breath
Heatstroke occurs when the body core temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit. If your body temperature reaches 107 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be fatal. Seek medical attention immediately if your symptoms do not go away within 15 minutes.