When temperatures climb well into the 80s, we must all take care. But we must be vigilant in watching out for the very young who are particularly vulnerable to the heat, especially inside a hot car.
Health officials recently reminded all of us about the very real danger posed by leaving a young child in a hot car for even a few minutes. Their message? Just don't chance it.
The inside temperature of a car can rise nearly 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. On average 38 children die in sweltering cars each year. It's such a problem, there is a world-wide initiative to educate parents and others about the dangers. Safety and health officials stress ACT - Avoid, Create Reminders, Take Action.
Often, when we hear of a child who perishes inside a hot car, it's because a parent or caregiver forgot the child was there. Health officials suggest a series of clues to remind you there is a child in the back seat. Things like placing your purse or billfold on the floor of the back seat, or keeping a stuffed animal in the car seat when the child isn't there, and then moving the stuffed animal to the front seat when the child is in the car seat.
Another suggestion is to make sure your child's daycare provider knows to call you if your child isn't there at the normal day and time.
You should take steps to protect other children, too. Make sure your car is locked when parked in the driveway as a way of keeping children out of the car unsupervised. And anyone who sees a child alone in a car is advised to contact authorities.
Time and time again we see we can't be too careful. Like local health officials, we hope that by raising the alarm now we will avoid a tragedy in the future.