In July 2012 a video showing a man locked inside a car as temperatures rose to deadly levels went viral. In just thirty minutes, the temperature rose from 95°F to 117°F, and you can see from the video below the incredible discomfort that a healthy, fit adult finds himself in.
Dr Ernie Ward, a North Carolina veterinarian, made the video to highlight the dangers of leaving pets locked in hot cars. As Ward says, it’s a lousy way to die, and Ward relates a story in which he observed a dog locked in a car outside his own clinic starting to suffer from the heat. The well-meaning owner had popped into the clinic for two minutes to pick something up, but two stretched into ten, and then into fifteen. It’s a lousy but all too easily preventable way to die.
On average, 37 children a year die the same way in the United States every year. Most are left purposely, in the same way as the dog above, by well meaning but busy parents who underestimate the time they’ll be away and the incredible speed with which temperatures can rise to fatal levels. But sometimes, they’re left by an entirely different means.