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Kids don’t belong in cars

We see far too many news reports about young children dying after being left unattended in cars. You wonder how any parent or caretaker could be so negligent. Sometimes parents rushing to get to work on too little sleep, or dealing with unusual distractions or personal situations, forget to drop their child off at day care before heading to work.

But sometimes parents will decide to leave their kids in the car while they run in to the store for “just a few minutes.” They don’t realize how quickly a car can heat up in the sun and how quickly a child’s body heat reaches dangerous levels.

Sometimes terrible accidents can happen, like the two girls, aged 6 and 9, were trapped in their minivan when the van next to theirs caught fire. One child died, the other was critically injured in the fire, caused by a hot cook stove that a man had placed in the back of his minivan after cooking breakfast.

There are so many things that can go wrong when children are left alone in cars. Are there laws that can prevent this from happening? We don’t think so, just laws that try to punish parents after they have suffered the worst punishment imaginable — the loss of a child. There is technology — weight sensors and motion sensors that can remind a parent that there is still someone in the car — that should be rushed into new car designs.

But it should be drummed into people’s consciousness — don’t ever leave a child unattended in an automobile, even for a couple of minutes. There’s too much tragedy waiting to happen.

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