Watch for children, pets in cars

Published 12:00 pm Friday, May 27, 2016

The weather is getting warmer and soon the sweltering days of summer will be upon us.

Already this month, two Mississippi children have died due to being left in vehicles by a parent. Unfortunately it is a story that will likely be repeated again soon and is happening way too frequently.

A 2005 study by San Jose State University meteorologist Jan Null found that the temperature inside a vehicle can rise more than 40 degrees in less than an hour. Null has also counted an average of 37 heatstroke deaths of children left in vehicles per year from 1998 to 2015. During that period, Mississippi had 14 deaths — the sixth-worst per-capita rate in the nation.

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Mississippi has not made it illegal for children to be left in vehicles. We believe it is time our state joined 20 others into making it a crime.

We beg parents and caregivers to be mindful of not only children, but pets as well. We certainly do not want to report on a local tragedy of the magnitude that has already occurred twice in other parts of the state this year.

Don’t be so distracted by daily life that you forget what is most important sleeping in the back seat of your vehicle. Please step up also as a responsible person if you see a child or a pet locked in a hot car unattended. Help is most likely necessary.