Editorial — Don’t leave kids, dogs to die in hot cars

July 2, 2015

By Staff

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It must be horrible to be trapped in a very hot, small space, yearning for water, gasping for air and begging to be released.

Despite the fact that scenario will horrify most readers, every single summer, police get calls about children and dogs trapped in hot cars.

Temperatures have been in the 80s in recent days and it’s not midsummer yet.

On average, 37 children across the country have died each year since 1998 from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles, according to www.noheatstroke.org.

In our increasingly time-strapped society, where people have to run around with multiple things vying for their attention, it can probably seem like a timesaver to run in the store for a couple of things and leave the kids or the dog in the car. “I’ll just be a minute,” people likely think.

But interruptions, a long line or any other number of things can happen that can turn that errand into deadly minutes for helpless children and animals.

An article on the WebMD site, www.webmd.com/parenting/features/hot-cars-and-child-death-prevention, gives great tips for what to do, and what not to do. But the first tip on the list is the main thing that should be drilled into the heads of parents and pet parents — No Exceptions, No Matter How Brief.

A San Jose State University examination of media reports about the 636 child vehicular heatstroke deaths for a 17-year period (1998 through 2014) shows 53 percent (336 children) were forgotten by a caregiver, 29 percent (186 children) were playing in an unattended vehicle and 17 percent (110 children) were intentionally left in a vehicle by an adult. The circumstances were unknown for four children.

“Parked cars are deathtraps for dogs: On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes,” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says on its site, peta.org.

If you see a child or pet in a hot vehicle, dial 911 immediately. It would be better for the police to get involved unnecessarily than for a child or pet to die. It’s difficult to get involved in another person’s business, but do you want the death of a child or a dog on your conscience, when you could have prevented it?

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