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Edmonton police reminding drivers not to leave kids in hot vehicles

The Edmonton Police Service shows how hot it can get inside a vehicle on a hot day.
The Edmonton Police Service shows how hot it can get inside a vehicle on a hot day. File / Global News

The hot summer months are upon us in Edmonton, and the Edmonton Police Service is reminding drivers that vehicles are not an adequate substitution for babysitters.

Last year, the EPS responded to 56 calls where either a pet or a child was left alone in a hot car. Fifty-three of those calls involved children.

READ MORE: Tech could help parents prevent hot car deaths — but only in about half of cases, expert says

Police have already responded to 19 calls regarding children left in vehicles in 2019.

“We hope that this campaign will remind parents and pet owners to reconsider their travel plans if it means their loved ones will be at risk,” Const. Jenn Shewaga of the EPS child at risk response team said.

“We don’t want a moment of convenience to become a lifetime of regret.”

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Because of their size, extreme heat affects children much more quickly and dramatically. Their core temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult.

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WATCH: On a hot day, it can take as little as one hour for the interior of a car to get hot enough to be deadly for a two-year-old child

Kids in hot cars: How long does it take before it becomes deadly?
Kids in hot cars: How long does it take before it becomes deadly?

Even with the air conditioning on, police said the risk to a child is still too great.

READ MORE: Student hopes to prevent children being left in hot cars with new car seat

In addition to the risk of heatstroke, EPS warns a thief could easily make off with the vehicle, not knowing there is a child inside. Kids could also get loose from their seatbelt or car seat and move the gear shift, causing the vehicle to move.

As for pets, they get heatstroke even quicker than kids do because they can’t cool themselves off by sweating, police added.

READ MORE: Could legislation help save children from dying in hot cars? Some lawmakers say yes

Anyone who spots a child or a pet in a hot vehicle can lawfully break a vehicle’s window if there are indicators of heat- or cold-induced distress, police say.

If a child or pet appears to be in danger, the EPS says residents should follow three steps:

  1. Call 911
  2. Check for signs of overheating
    • Fast, noisy breathing
    • Disorientation
    • Collapse
    • Vomiting
    • Lack of responsiveness
  3. Check vehicle doors
    • If unlocked, remove the child or animal
    • If locked, break the glass and remove the child or animal
    • If the vehicle owner returns, advise them that police are on the way. Don’t confront the driver.
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