theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

July 3, 2013

Kids die in parked cars

Art Lawler Staff Writer adanewslawler@cableone.net
www.theadanews.com

Ada —

 Here we go again. The mercury rises close to 100 degrees and small children, pets and sometimes the elderly, die inside parked cars.

Not because they have to, but because drivers can’t remember what small people  they’re carting around.

It’s early July, and already U.S. motorists have killed off a dozen children because their parents or guardians forgot about them.

Look, I’m as a forgetful as they come, but I’ve never burned up a kid or a dog inside a car.

It’s enough the make you think;  “What are they thinking?"

If you say they’re not, you’re wrong. Nobody is that empty-headed. They’re thinking about too many things, obviously, and their priorities are way out of balance.

We hear about these deaths and we want to find these people and shake them good and hard, then lecture them with righteous indignation.

That might help us, but it’s not going to help them. OK, so maybe a little revenge isn’t such a bad thing. But once the shaking is over and we feel better, the infant, the toddler and the pooch are still dead.

Those responsible have to live with that for the rest of their lives. It’s not like they’re going to get away with this.

Considering all the children we’ve lost in terroristic attacks in the last few months, it’s tempting to throw up our hands and admit, “We just can’t protect our young anymore.”

But there are some things we can do to protect ourselves against ourselves.

AAA Oklahoma has sent out its annual recommendations to help prevent this kind of tragedy.

Right now is the time to take a look and make sure we never subject one of our little people to such a fate.

• Never leave a child unattended in a car, even if the windows are tinted or down. The same recommendation applies to pets or the elderly.

(That’s all well and good, but what if you forget the infant’s back there? We do that, you know. They go to sleep, we get involved with less important matters and they can die because of it.)

• Don’t allow children to play in unlocked, parked vehicles and never leave car keys where children have access to them. (I’ve had to take my own car keys out of a pooch’s mouth before. He liked the way they jingled.)

• Keep doors locked and windows closed at all times, no matter where the vehicle is parked. (Just make sure the kid’s not still in the car when you do this.)

• Make sure all children leave the vehicle when you reach your destination. (How long does it take to scan the backseat and floorboard?)

• When you first place a child in a car seat in the back seat of the car, also open the glove compartment door, flip down the passenger side visor or put a purse, or something you have to have, in the backseat near the human cargo. 

If you see a child alone in a locked, parked car, don’t hesitate to be a busy-body. Call 911 immediately for emergency assistance.