Safe Kids, AAA Remind People Not to Leave Kids or Pets in Cars

Apr 23, 2014

AAA Oklahoma spokesman Danial Karnes talks Wednesday about the dangers of leaving kids in a car. Background from left: Tulsa Police Officer Craig Murray, Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler, Dr. Roopa Thukaram, Tulsa Area Safe Kids Director Beth Washington, veterinarian Paul Welch and Tulsa Fire Department Public Information Officer Stan May
Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS

The weather is nice again, but the Tulsa Area Safe Kids coalition wants to remind people it will get hot in the car now — up to 20 degrees warmer than outside in 10 minutes.

Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said a parent or caregiver could be charged with second-degree manslaughter if a child dies while left alone in a car.

"We've been fortunate over the past several years to not actually have a case where we've had somebody die, but in those unfortunate circumstances, somebody could be charged with that and be looking at up to four years in prison for the death of somebody I'm sure they never intended to put in that spot," Kunzweiler said.

Safe Kids recommends putting an item you need at your destination next to your child so you don’t forget he or she is there.

AAA Oklahoma ran a demonstration to show the temperature difference between outside and inside a parked car. The temperature outside at 1 p.m. today was 75 degrees; inside a white minivan parked at the feet of the Golden Driller, a thermometer read 135 degrees.

Hot cars kill 38 kids a year, and veterinarian Paul Welch said pets can be affected even faster.

"They dissipate heat by panting," Welch said. "The problem with that is the hotter you get, the hotter your breath gets and the more you pant."

The best option is planning ahead to make sure your pet won’t be left in a car.