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As I have said again and again, I really do care about each of you. Because of this, I am sometimes compelled to switch gears and share a very practical message that is different from my usual topics.

I have recently had a window popping up in a lower corner of my computer screen. I must look at this little window to close it. While I am almost always annoyed, I noticed one recently that deeply saddened me, but one that I am glad I saw so that I can pass on this message to you.

The story that popped up was about a child who had died after suffocating in a car. I distinctly remember the first two times I heard about this happening to a child. The second time was a news story I heard after our children were either teens or near teens. I remember being horrified by the circumstances of the completely avoidable death of a child. However, I believed that my children were past the possibility of it happening to them, and I was not yet a grandparent.

The first time I heard about a child dying in a parked car was when I was a fairly young child myself. I had accompanied my paternal grandparents and my aunt (who was only a year and a half older than I) on a vacation in Daytona Beach, Florida. While we were on the beach, we learned that a child had suffocated in a car parked on the beach.

Until I saw the recent story, I had assumed that a child dying in a parked car was always the result of a parent or perhaps a daycare worker inadvertently leaving a child in a car absent-mindedly. All such deaths are great tragedies. However, until I read the article, I did not know that as many as 25% of these deaths may involve children whose parents had no idea they were in a vehicle. A child might slip out of the house while her mother is cooking or something like that. A child’s young body can suffocate in a car even when the outside temperature is not extremely hot.

So, I simply had to let you know that it is imperative that all parents make sure that their children do not play in parked cars and that they cannot get into a vehicle without adult supervision. As you know, this means much more than simply telling children not to do it. They are counting on us to keep a watchful eye, to keep doors locked, or to do whatever we have to do to keep them safe.

It is imperative that we remember that children are, after all, children . . .

Photo by Bernard Gotfryd, 1980s. Courtesy of Library of Congress.

. . . and that they are counting on us to be adults who have put away childish things.

When I was a child,
I used to speak like a child,
think like a child, 
reason like a child;
when I became a man,
I did away with childish things.
1 Corinthians 13:11


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  1. Gosh. This was a really good PSA. Halfway thru I thought well I would never leave my child alone in a parked car. It never once occurred to me that they might play in the car. Thank you for this. I am going to be reading it to all of my kids. Especially the ones who are older and closer to being parents themselves. <3

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