It’s on the news a lot this time of year. It’s also all over Facebook and other social media. People are leaving children and/or dogs in a vehicle while they do other things. This is a deadly combination and we need to think about it.
Stories: The death of a Georgia toddler has been making news. The father forgot the child was in the vehicle. The child is dead, the father is in jail and won’t even be allowed to go to his son’s funeral. Whether this is an accident or intentional is beside the point.
There is also the story of a nanny who left her charge in a van while she went into a store to do a little shoplifting. She was caught and the child were rescued. A Facebook post showed a woman loading groceries into her vehicle. She’d left her dog in the car and by the time she got back, the dog was showing signs of heat stress. She left before officers got there but *not* before there were pictures of her and her license plate.
Statistics: An average of 38 children die of heatstroke from being left in a hot car. In 2013, 44 died and thus far in 2014 13 have died. That’s just the *deaths.* In a one month period between April and May, eleven children were rescued from that fate.
There are no statistics about dogs, but there are a lot of websites that warn about leaving them alone in cars on a hot day. There’s another thing to keep in mind. It’s illegal in many states to do so. You may find yourself saying goodbye to your dog and hello to a pair of handcuffs if the dog is left in the car.
Why is it a problem ? There are graphs that show this. If you are in a (relatively) cool state, the car can still get far too hot. At 70 degrees outside, the inside of your car can hit 104 degrees in thirty minutes. In typical Southwest summer heat, the car can surpass that in ten minutes or less. A child’s body temperature goes up five times faster than an adults. That means that heatstroke can occur after a very few minutes in a hot vehicle.
Hide and Go Seek: Accidentally forgetting a child in the car isn’t the only way a child could die this way. It is recommended that car doors and trunks be firmly closed and locked so that a child doesn’t climb in and be unable to get out.
New Invention: A youngster from Tennessee has invented something to help prevent these accidents. It’s called the E Z Baby Saver. It’s a result of a contest encouraging young people to make something useful primarily out of rubber bands. The device serves to remind a parent that the child is still in the car.
These events are preventable. Everyone suffers when they have them. The parents who forget have to live with that the rest of their lives. Many often go to prison as well. Dog owners also can end up in jail. Let’s make sure the family is safe…don’t leave them in the car even “just for a minute.”