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May 12, 2004
Residents reminded to protect children from hot vehicles
Toronto Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Toronto Public Health are
reminding the public of the importance of protecting children and pets from hot
vehicles now that warm weather has arrived. Even when car or van windows are
left slightly open, the inside temperature of vehicles can quickly reach
dangerous levels.

On a typical hot day in Canada, the temperature inside a parked car can rise to
exceed 50°C (122°F) in just 10-20 minutes. This temperature could kill a child
or a pet in less than 40 minutes.

"Young children, especially infants, are much more sensitive to heat than
adults," said Dr. Bonnie Henry, Associate Medical Officer of Health. "Rising
temperatures inside a car can produce significant heat stress on children that
may result in serious illness or death."

When caregivers are running errands and leave children or pets in vehicles, a
delay of just a few minutes can lead to serious harm.

"Playing in a car parked in a driveway at home can also be dangerous," said
Toronto EMS Chief Bruce Farr. "Children are naturally curious and might not
understand that a situation is dangerous. Once inside a vehicle, they may be
trapped and unable to get out."

Residents should remember these safety tips to protect the health of children
and pets:
· Never leave your child or pet in an unattended car, even with the windows
· Teach children not to play in, on, or around cars.
· Always lock car doors and trunks.
· Check to make sure that all children, including sleeping infants, leave the
vehicle when you reach your destination.
· Check the temperature of the safety seat surface and safety belt buckles
before restraining children in the car. Car seat surfaces that are over 66°C or
150°F can burn skin.
· If you see a child unattended in a vehicle, call 911. This call could save a

For more information, and for other health and safety-related tips on a wide
variety of subjects, see Toronto EMS Web site: and
the Toronto Public Health Web site at:

Media contacts:
Dean Shaddock, Toronto EMS Community Medicine Program,
Susan Sperling, Toronto Public Health, 416-338-7974



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