Every year, police, fire, paramedics and animal protection officers are called to scenes where a child or pet is left unattended in a vehicle. EPS' Vehicle is Not a Babysitter (or Dogsitter) campaign was created to remind parents and pet owners to reconsider their route if it means their loved ones will be at risk.
Even if the vehicle is left running with air conditioning, there are severe risks for this moment of convenience. Extreme heat affects infants and small children more quickly and dramatically than adults because of their size. Their core temperature can increase 3-5 times faster than an adult’s.
Pets get heatstroke more quickly than kids because they can’t cool themselves off by sweating. They only have sweat glands on their paws which won’t do well on a hot car seat.
In addition to risks of heatstroke and medical distress, a thief could easily steal the vehicle, not knowing there is a child or pet inside. Left unattended, children or loose pets can also put the car in motion by moving the gear shift. There are too many dangerous situations that could happen in this moment of convenience.
See an unattended child or animal in a car on a hot day? Here’s what you do:
Edmonton's winter conditions also put children and pets at risk. The bottom line: no matter the weather, a vehicle is not a babysitter.