By Patty Montagno
The Sachse Police Department will be stepping up patrols of city parking lots and other areas during the summer heat wave.
Officers will be checking around for passengers or pets that may have been left inside a parked car.
Lt. Marty Cassidy said the extra patrols are crucial during the summer months and lives could be saved.
“There are so many reasons that a parent or caregiver could leave a child, baby or the elderly in a parked car for longer than expected,” he said. “Last year it was reported that a 3-year-old boy died in the Dallas area after he was forgotten by his day care workers inside a hot van following a field trip.”
Veach said reports have shown that since 1998 approximately 600 children have died after being left unintentionally in a hot car.
Cassidy said the signs of heat exhaustion in people can include a body temperature of up to 104 degrees, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fainting and flushed, moist skin. Signs of heat stroke can include a temperature greater than 104 degrees, disorientation, confusion, combativeness, seizure, stroke, shock and cardiac arrest.
“The on-site treatment for heat exhaustion is to stop the activity and move the person to a cool shady area or air-conditioned facility,” Cassidy said. “Cool water and sports drinks will also help with rehydration.”
Cassidy cautioned that if anyone suspects someone suffering from heat exhaustion that does not improve with treatment, 911 should be called immediately.
“To help prevent more tragedies we want to educate parents and drivers on the dangers of leaving children unattended in a car especially during the warm summer months,” he said. “Most people don’t realize how quickly the temperature in a car can rise to dangerous levels. Even on a 70-degree day, the inside temperature of a car can exceed 120 degrees even with windows partially open.”
Cassidy advises that all motorists never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, not even for a minute, and check the car to make sure that all occupants leave the vehicle or are carried out when unloading.
“If you lock the door with a key, rather than with a remote, it would force that one last look in the car before leaving it,” he said. “If you see a child or an elderly person alone in a car especially if they seem hot, call 911 to help get them out.”
Sachse Veterinarian Dr. Jim Moebius said days above 90 degrees, especially with high humidity, are extremely dangerous for pets.
“Humidity interferes with animals’ ability to rid themselves of excess body heat,” he said. “When we overheat we sweat, and when the sweat dries it takes excess heat with it. Our pets only perspire around their paws, which is not enough to cool the body.”
Moebius said overweight pets are also more prone to overheating because their extra layers of fat act as insulation, which traps heat in their bodies and restricts their breathing capabilities. Age can also be a factor in an animal’s tendency to overheat.
“A car can become a death trap, even on a mild sunny day,” Moebius said. “Never leave your pet inside the car. If your pet can’t come with you when you get out of the car, leave him at home.”
Moebius said leaving animals outdoors without shelter can be just as dangerous as leaving them inside a hot car.
“Be sure they are not left in a cage in the hot sun, on a chain in the backyard, or outdoors in a run without sufficient shade or air circulation,” he said.