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Common Sense 101: Keep Children Out of Hot Cars

I was at a Target the other day and in the parking lot I saw a child and a small dog in a hot car with the windows rolled almost completely up. Should I say something? Should I do something? I decided to let it go, because the windows were slightly cracked and both the child and the dog looked fine as I glanced through the window. But, when they were still there 15 minutes later when I exited the store, I decided to act and called the local authorities.

At Helfman Collision Center, we want our blog readers in Houston and throughout the State of TX that leaving a child or a pet in a car is not acceptable and in some states, it is a crime.

A short trip to the grocery store or the mall might seem a little easier without a gaggle of kids in tow, but when the heat of summer hits the area, leaving them in the car is no longer viable alternative. According to, 37 children die annually from heat-related causes after being left or trapped in a hot car.

These fatal accidents happen faster than you'd imagine. The temperature inside a parked vehicle can spike to between 100 and 120 degrees on a normal 78-degree day. Within just 15 minutes it  can kill an infant in 5-10 minutes or less at those elevated temperatures.

Is it ever okay to leave a child or a pet in a car alone? In one word--no!! These tragedies happen all the time because 1-2 minutes turns into 10 or 15, so it’s never worth the risk involved. There is never a good reason not to take a few moments to unstrap your children from their car seats to bring them with you to your destination.

And as for your pets, it’s advisable to leave them at home if you’re heading to locations that aren’t known to be pet-friendly. PETA has stated that leaving pets unattended in automobiles is never a sage idea. At best, leaving your kids or pets in vehicles unattended is a high-stakes gamble, and not one worth anyone can afford to take.

If you see a situation like the one I encountered in the Target parking lot, it’s always important that you do something. Many bystanders are worried about getting involved in these types of scenarios, but it’s important that you act quickly and definitely when you see a child or pet in a hot car.

Sources: PETA, and NHTSA

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