Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
2:00 AM 13th July 2022

AA Warns Against Locking Children And Pets In Cars As Temperatures Soar

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
With record temperatures predicted this weekend, the AA has warned of the dangers of leaving children and pets in vehicles – along with the keys.

Last summer, AA patrols rescued an average of two children and two pets per day after they had been locked in vehicles, resulting in avoidable stress for parents and pet owners. With temperatures set to top 30℃ this weekend, the AA is advising drivers who plan to take advantage of the warm spell not to leave children nor pets in the car and to check their cars before they travel.

Sean Sidley, AA patrol of the year, says:
“In hot weather, people often run their cars to cool the interior before setting off. If doing this, we advise people to stay with their vehicle and not to leave children or pets in there while waiting for it to cool as this often results in a call to the AA to retrieve the keys from the vehicle after it’s locked itself.

“Also, checking your car before you travel can provide peace of mind and leave you free to enjoy the weather. We often advise drivers to be prepared in cold weather, but it is equally important in hot conditions.

“Part of your checks should include making sure you have sufficient breakdown cover in place. If you break down on a motorway National Highways can charge upwards of £150 to move you to safety. Once in a safe location, your vehicle will still need to be repaired or recovered.

“There are reports of road gritters being out this weekend to reduce the chances of our roads melting. If it does get sticky on the roads there’s nothing worse than being stuck in a jam with the mercury rising, so make sure you carry plenty of water – at least a litre per person – and sufficient fuel, or if you’re driving an electric vehicle (EV) – make sure you have plenty of charge so you can use the air-conditioning when needed.”

"It only takes one incident to cause tailbacks, so keep tuned to local traffic reports; and plan in sufficient stops – frequent short ones are better than one long stop.”

Photo by Sam Barber on Unsplash
Photo by Sam Barber on Unsplash
Coastal routes are predicted to be the busiest as families look to make the most of the warm spell. The AA recommends using window blinds to help shield children and passengers; and the use of sunglasses to reduce glare.

Cooking engines

Hot weather can highlight faults like seized cooling fan motors which can contribute to engine damage if left undetected, so it’s important to have your car regularly serviced.

Sean Sidley explains:
“When you get caught in traffic, the cooling fan will come on automatically and draw air through the radiator. If the fan motor has seized, say through lack of use, the coolant will get hotter until it boils and is lost from the system. If you don’t spot this and turn off the engine, you potentially risk a four-figure repair bill."

The AA advises that the most effective way of temporarily dealing with an overheating car is to turn the heater up full and the air conditioning on. If the worst does happen, try to stop somewhere safe then follow the advice of your breakdown provider.