OUR VIEWS: Dying of heat

Jul 9, 2012


This nationwide heat wave has allowed our previously latent survival instincts to surface. We rush across the parking lot to reach the beckoning automatic doors of Meijer’s climate-controlled haven. We skip through patches of sole-scalding sand, seeking the respite of Lake Michigan’s soothing embrace.

While we yearn for the comforts of that chilled six-pack of beer at the store or the beach’s lapping waves, sometimes it’s what we leave in the car that means the most in our lives.

You know, like your kids or your dogs.

As the Weather Channel recently reported, when the outside temperature is 90 degrees, it only takes 10 minutes for the temperature inside of a car to climb to 110 degrees. An additional 10 minutes ratchets up the temperature another 10 degrees. After an hour, the car reaches an unbearable 133 degrees.

There’s an easy solution: don’t leave your kids or animals in the car! If you’re headed somewhere that doesn’t allow animals, then leave your pet at home. Don’t let your desire for constant canine companionship endanger his or her life.

According to Consumer Reports, since 1998, more than 500 children have died from being left in hot vehicles across the country. The Michigan Legislature passed a law in 2009 that makes it a misdemeanor to leave a child under the age of 6 unattended in a car, and a felony if the act results in serious bodily harm or death.

Some might think something like this could never happen in the Tri-Cities. However, in July 2010, a Spring Lake woman left her 18-month-old in the backseat of her car for 30 minutes. A month earlier, a Wyoming toddler died after crawling into the family van, unable to get out.

Many of the potentially deadly incidents have been prevented thanks to keen-eyed community members who have spotted children or animals in danger and notified authorities.

If you come upon a child or an animal in distress, call 911. Do not try to open the car's doors yourself.

Let’s all be vigilant this summer and prevent tragedies.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Kevin Collier and Liz Stuck. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



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