TEMPE, Ariz. -- As summer temperatures start to reach the Valley, AAA Arizona is reminding anyone driving with a child to ensure that nobody is left in a locked car.
There are 38 deaths each year as a result of children being locked in hot cars, and Arizona is fourth in the nation with 23 such deaths from 1998 to 2010. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day last year, AAA took 376 calls regarding kids and pets trapped in locked cars.
Just this past Monday, Tempe police arrested Maria-Theresa Pio on suspicion of child abuse, alleging she left her 1-year-old son in a locked car for more than 40 minutes while she went grocery shopping.
Firefighters had to unlock the doors to get the child out, and a heat gun found the temperature inside the car to be between 113 and 124 degrees.
AAA Arizona’s Michelle Donati spoke with 3TV about how anyone traveling with a child can prevent a similar incident from happening.
Among her advice, Donati had three key tips:
- Look before you lock
- Check the front and back seats of the car
- Leave a visual cue for yourself