Every year, dozens of pets and children left in parked vehicles suffer heat-related illnesses and death.
Hyperthermia, an acute condition that occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle, can occur even on a mild day, according to the National Weather Service, and temperatures inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to dangerous levels, particularly for children, the elderly and pets.
"Do not leave children or pets or anyone else in a hot car or an unattended vehicle during the heat of the day," said Deanna Wolfe, Ogden Regional Medical Center's trauma services director.
"Inside the car, temperatures rise quickly and significantly. It doesn't take very long for an elderly person, a child or a pet to become quickly overheated and actually die. Every summer, there are heat-related deaths that could be avoided."
According to the American Red Cross, 500 children died from 1998 to May 2011 because they were left in hot vehicles.
A study conducted by San Francisco State University reported temperatures in a hot automobile rose approximately 19 degrees in 10 minutes, 29 degrees after 20 minutes, 34 degrees after 30 minutes and 43 degrees in an hour.
In addition, a study conducted by the Animal Protection Institute showed deadly temperatures can rapidly increase inside a closed vehicle, even if it's only moderately warm outside.
An outside temperature of 82 degrees registered 109 inside a car, the study reported. Even with the windows cracked, the car was as hot as an oven.
The Weather Service says the sun's shortwave radiation heats the objects that it strikes, such as dark dashboards, steering wheels and seats. This can cause the vehicle to reach temperatures as high as 200 degrees.
"I would also be remiss if I did not pass on this advice," Wolfe said.
"Do not sit in a hot car and turn the car on to run the air conditioning. You can get carbon monoxide exposure, and it is extremely bad for the environment. Far better to get out of the car and walk into the building rather than wait in a hot car."
HEAT ILLNESS SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT
Heat exhaustion symptoms:
Cool, pale, clammy skin
Nausea and vomiting
Move person to the shade or inside
Remove or loosen clothing
Apply cool wet cloths, particularly to the head, feet, underarms, groin
Have victim sip cold water
Heat stroke symptoms:
Altered mental state such as confusion, aggitation, delirium
High body temperature
Hot, dry or sweaty skin
Get to an emergency room as soon as possible.
If waiting for help to arrive, move person to a cooler place, and fan or sponge off the person. Do not give fluids.
Make sure child safety seat and belt buckles aren't too hot.
Never lead child or pets in vehicle, even with the windows down.
Teach children not to play in or around cars.
Always lock car doors and trunks, even at home and keep keys out of reach.
Don't leave sleeping babies in the car -- ever.
Source: McKay-Dee and Ogden Regional hospitals