We know the Arizona desert can be brutal, but did you know that every year more than 36 children are lost from being left in a hot car. According to kidsandcars.org, in 2018, over 50 children lost their lives between February and September. Two of those children were in Arizona and in March, not the peak summer months.
Of course, we know that children are not the only ones who get left to suffer. Man’s best friend gets left in the car a lot, too. People often don’t consider how quickly the interior of the car can heat up, even if the windows are left cracked. To give you an idea, on a 70 degree day, with in 10 minutes temperatures in the interior of the car increase roughly 20 degrees. After an hour, it’s over 30 degrees warmer.
Many of us have seen the news stories of the journalists baking cookies on a dash board or trying to see how long they could sit in a quickly warming car. It’s real, folks. It’s also very dangerous. According to the CDC, “When temperatures outside range from 80 degrees to 100 degrees, the temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight can quickly climb to between 130 to 172.”
In May of 2017, Arizona passed HB2494. this bill was huge for children, pets, and the good Samaritans of Arizona. This bill allows a Good Samaritan to act in the instance where a life is in danger and First Responders can’t arrive quickly enough. This is not to say you can just go around breaking car windows, but if a child or pet is locked inside of a vehicle and is showing signs of imminent danger, the vehicle is locked and no one is around to open it, you have contacted the proper authorities, and you only use the amount of force necessary to gain access to the vehicle and save those in danger, and you remain with the child/pet until the authorities arrive; then you aren’t liable in the event of a civil action.
As a seasoned Arizonan, I know how crippling the heat can be and we don’t have a lot in the way of shade here. Even in those few shady spots, the heat can be overwhelming. There are many days where my son ends up riding with me to provide roadside assistance or tow a vehicle. He’s too small to help me so he stays in the truck. I do regular vehicle maintenance and system checks to make sure everything is operating well. My a/c is always running, and I’m right at the back of the truck if he needs to holler for me. Of course, he is already an expert, so he likes to roll down the window and tell me how to do the job. I wouldn’t trade a moment of it.
Please be safe out there. With the change of the seasons, it’s a good idea to check your vehicle over (tune-up) or take it somewhere for maintenance service. It’s not a bad idea to get a second key made for your vehicle, if you don’t have a spare, too. Even if you’re just out for a day of shopping or tooling around the city, it’s not a bad idea to get in the habit of keeping a small cooler with some frozen and cold bottles of water. Extra fluids for your vehicle are a great idea, too. I keep a small crate on the bed of the truck, and have another in the back of my wife’s SUV.