The Tennessee Department of Safety is reminding local drivers that they should never leave children -- or pets -- in an unattended vehicle, which can be a dangerous and sometimes deadly offense. Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell says Tennessee is one of fifteen states that have laws against leaving a child unattended. On a typical sunny, summer day, experts say the temperature inside a car can reach potentially deadly levels within minutes. Even on a mild day at 73 degrees outside, an SUV can heat up to 100 degrees in 10 minutes and 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.
"A child or a pet should never be left in an unattended vehicle under any circumstances – especially in the heat," said Mitchell. "Motorists should routinely make sure all occupants exit the vehicle whenever they leave a car. An illness or even worse, a death, due to such a senseless tragedy is absolutely preventable."