Kids in Hot Cars


We have all wondered at some time what we would do. You are walking through a parking lot on a hot sunny summer day. As you pass a parked car, you see a kid or two inside the car. They look hot, sweaty, and the car door is locked. Should you call 911? If they look in distress should you break the window? When this happened to a young man I know recently he was relieved of having to make the decision by the arrival of the mom. But not all of these types of incidences are resolved this easily.

The Statistics Don’t Lie

Every year around this time we begin to see the stories of small children left in hot cars. Some, like the mother above, are lucky. They don’t have to return to see their small child taken away in an ambulance because they popped into a store for a few minutes. Sometimes it is as simple as coming home from work, kid in the back, and in the flurry of groceries and getting dinner ready they don’t realize they left their child in the car until it is too late. A recent study by San Francisco State University showed 606 deaths from either kids playing near a car or left behind in a car from 1998 to 2013.

Recognizing Danger

Not every child left in a car is in danger. A mild day, with a teen or tween left in charge of her younger brother, is probably not in danger. A small toddler alone in a sunny car with all the windows up will quickly be in danger in only minutes. Police say that if you have doubts, call 911. For those worried about charges being laid, not every parent faces charges. But this is a call for the police, not you. So the next time you are out in your neighborhood, stay alert to children in parked cars. If they appear drowsy, or overly heated, make the call. It could save a life.

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