Whatever it takes, don't forget your children

In a month's time, eight children ages 9 years to 8 weeks old died in the United States because someone who loved them left them in the car.

In Reno last week, the mother of two children was arrested and her children taken by Child Protective Services after she left her son in the car while she ran in to do something at work.

The excuses range from forgetting their child was with them, to kids playing games.

In Michigan, a woman camping with family decided to take a nap in the tent she had just pitched. Hours later, she awoke to find her 3-month-old dead in the car. In Safford, Ariz., a grandmother left a 2-year-old in the car for three hours. In Ohio, a 4-year-old died after being locked in the car by the child-safety locks that prevent doors of back seats from being opened from the inside. The 4-year-old didn't know he could open the front doors. In Las Vegas, a 16-month-old died after being left in the car for three hours by his father. Officials estimate the inside temperature of the car at 150 degrees.

A law passed by Nevada's 2005 Legislature takes effect Oct. 1. The law makes it illegal to leave a child who is 7 years of age or younger in a motor vehicle if the conditions present a significant risk to the health and safety of the child, if the engine of the motor vehicle is running, or the keys to the vehicle are in the ignition, unless the child is being supervised by and within the sight of a person who is at least 12 years old.

A person convicted under the law is guilty of a misdemeanor and could be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to six months in jail.

While no law will prevent harm coming to a child, the creation of the law and a public- awareness campaign about it may help. But why the law didn't go into effect July 1 is beyond us. It's another of those failings of legislators who don't look at all sides of the issue.

When it's 73 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can reach 100 degrees in 10 minutes and 120 degrees in 30. When it's 90 degrees outside, it takes just minutes for temperatures inside a car to soar to 160 degrees.

If you leave a window open an inch, it takes 20 minutes to reach 125 degrees and 40 minutes to hit 140, and that's if the outside temperature is 93.

You wouldn't place an 8-week-old in bath water of 160 degrees. Why would you leave one in the car?

So far this year, at least 17 children have died. In 2004, there were 35.

Safety officials recommend leaving your purse or briefcase in the back seat with your child or leaving the diaper bag on the front seat as a reminder. We don't care if you tie a string around your finger or put a note in your PDA, we just don't want similar headlines appearing in the Appeal.


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