THP Urge Motorists: Never Leave Children Unattended in a Vehicle
NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Highway Patrol is urging motorists to take extra precautions as temperatures rise this weekend and throughout the summer months, and never leave children or pets in an unattended vehicle.
On a typical sunny, summer day, experts say the temperature inside a car can reach potentially deadly levels within minutes. Even cool temperatures in the 60s can cause the temperature to rise well above 110 degrees Fahrenheit inside a vehicle. The inside temperature can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes. On a mild day at 73 degrees outside, an SUV can heat up to 120 degrees in just 30 minutes. At 90 degrees outside, the interior of a vehicle can heat up to 160 degrees within several minutes.
TCA Code 55-10-803 (a) It is an offense for a person responsible for a child younger than seven (7) years of age to knowingly leave that child in a motor vehicle located on public property or while on the premises of any shopping center, trailer park, or any apartment house complex, or any other premises that is generally frequented by the public at large without being supervised in the motor vehicle by a person who is at least thirteen (13) years of age, if:
- The conditions present a risk to the child's health or safety;
- The engine of the motor vehicle is running; or
- The keys to the motor vehicle are located anywhere inside the passenger compartment of the vehicle.
(b) A violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor punishable only by a fine of two hundred dollars ($200) for the first offense.
- Dial 911 immediately if you see an unattended child in a car. EMS professionals are trained to determine if a child is in trouble.
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the window slightly open.
- Place a cell phone, PDA, purse, briefcase, gym bag or whatever is to be carried from the car, on the floor in front of a child in a backseat. This triggers adults to see children when they open the rear door and reach for their belongings.
- Teach children not to play in any vehicle.
- Lock all vehicle doors and trunk after everyone has exited the vehicle – especially at home. Keep keys out of children’s reach. Cars are not playgrounds or babysitters.
- Check vehicles and trunks FIRST if a child goes missing. (Source: Safekids.org)
- For highway emergencies, summon help immediately via cellular phone by dialing *THP (*847) to connect to the nearest THP District Headquarters.
- Have a basic first aid/survival kit, including two-three bottles of water per person, in vehicle.
- If vehicle begins to overheat, turn off the air conditioner.
- If a break down occurs, steer your vehicle as far away from the flow of traffic as possible.
The Tennessee Department of Safety’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to ensure the safety and general welfare of the public. The department encompasses the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Office of Homeland Security and Driver License Services. General areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education, motorist services and terrorism prevention.