(KFSM) — As temperatures soar across the country and amid reports that a baby boy had to be rescued after being left in a hot car outside a Walmart store in Pea Ridge, PETA is taking action with a new ad campaign, "Too Hot for Spot and Tot," warning people never to leave children or dogs in parked cars on hot days.
Even a "quick" errand can turn fatal, as forgetfulness—being distracted by running into a friend, taking a phone call or otherwise being delayed—can take a vulnerable life.
Already this year, 32 children and at least 32 dogs and cats have died after being left inside parked cars.
PETA suggests doing the following in order to safeguard humans and animals:
- Never leave anyone inside a hot vehicle. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to 100 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 109 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Dogs, who don't sweat and can cool themselves only by panting, can rapidly succumb to heatstroke, even if a vehicle is parked in the shade with the windows slightly open, which has little to no effect on lowering the temperature inside.
- If you see an animal and/or a child left alone inside a car, call local humane authorities or 911 immediately and remain on the scene until the situation has been resolved. If authorities are unresponsive or too slow and a life appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness who will back up your assessment before carefully removing the child or animal from the car and carrying them into the shade. PETA offers an emergency window-breaking hammer for help with intervening in these life-or-death situations.
- To treat an animal suffering from suspected heatstroke, wrap a cool, wet towel around the head and neck without covering the eyes, nose, or mouth and wring out, resoak, and reapply it every few minutes. Pour lukewarm water over his or her body, and wipe excess water away, especially from the abdomen and between the hind legs. When authorities arrive, ensure that the animal is taken to a veterinarian for further care.
Law-enforcement officials across the country are also warning people of the dangers of hot weather. "Every year, we alert people to the danger of leaving children or pets inside cars in the summer," says Chief of Police James R. Kruger Jr. from Oak Brook, Illinois. "The temperature inside a vehicle climbs approximately 43 degrees in just an hour. The loss of a defenseless animal in this manner is avoidable and should never happen. There is no reason to take your pet out in extreme heat without adequate air conditioning and water."
For more information, visit PETA.org.