Bravo to the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office for creating car hang tags reminding drivers to ensure that children are not accidentally left in parked cars. It’s vital to always “look before you lock” to be sure no one is in the backseat: Hundreds of dogs have also suffered agonizing, terrifying deaths after being accidentally or knowingly left in hot vehicles.

Parked cars can turn into deathtraps in just minutes, even on a mildly warm day. When it’s 75 degrees outside, the temperature inside a parked car can spike to 104 degrees in just 20 minutes. Parking in the shade, leaving windows partially open, and/or leaving water in the vehicle do not keep vehicles cool enough to be safe.

If you see a victim trapped in a hot car, always stop to help — your quick action can mean the difference between life and a painful death. Call local humane authorities or 911 immediately and stay until the victim is safe. If authorities are unresponsive or too slow and a life is in imminent danger, find a witness who will back up your assessment before carefully removing the victim from the car, carrying him or her into the shade, and ensuring that the victim receives prompt medical or veterinary treatment.

Lindsay Pollard-Post

Norfolk, Virginia

The writer represents the PETA Foundation.

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