T hough I know that this is happening, I am thankful that we have not heard much of it in our area recently. The...

T hough I know that this is happening, I am thankful that we have not heard much of it in our area recently. The issue that I am speaking of is leaving a child or a pet alone in a vehicle for any amount of time. With the temperatures that we experienced over the last couple of weeks and the temperatures that are sure to return, the outcome could be fatal. Hot temperatures outside cause our vehicles to act like an oven. The body has mechanisms to deal with overheating, but those mechanisms only work for so long. The emergency is when we reach the point of heat stroke. Heat stroke causes our body temperature to rise, cooking us from the inside, as well as the outside. Controlled, rapid cooling is one of the key treatments for this emergency.

Children, the elderly, and pets are the most vulnerable to extreme heat or cold. There is no amount of time that a person should be left in a non-running vehicle. For that matter, no child should be left in a running vehicle by themselves. There is no reason that you can offer that will excuse you from taking your child with you wherever you go. There have been cases where parents have forgotten that their children were in the vehicle due to distractions such as cell phones, and the child may have fallen asleep. You may think that this would never happen to you, but it can.

What do you do if you find a car somewhere that has a child, elderly person, or pet in it on a hot day? Depending on the situation, you may find the most appropriate action is to break a window and get the person or pet out of the vehicle. If you have time, call 9-1-1 first. This could be a life or death situation, and you will have to use your best judgment on how to handle the situation. This is not something that you can ignore, even if it causes you heartache for the action that you took.

Though it takes more time, houses or buildings that lose their air conditioning will have the same effect on people. Heating and air technicians are extremely busy during this time of the year. Having your equipment serviced once or twice a year may prevent you being without heat or air conditioning, during the coldest or hottest part of the year. You must have some type of plan. If your AC goes out, what will you do? What if it goes out on the weekend? Are you ready to be without AC from at least Friday-Monday?

There will be hot days in August. We all need to be well hydrated just to deal with the hot temperatures. Leaving children and pets in a non-running vehicle is negligence and possibly gross negligence. This is a needless injury or death that need not occur. As stated previously, there is no excuse that you can give as to why you left your child or pet in this situation. Be careful and have a good rest of your summer!