Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Sight of Boy Alone in Car Weighs on Witness's Mind

DEAR ABBY: Yesterday I saw a little boy left alone in a parked car. The windows were rolled down about 2 inches. The child, probably 1 year old, was strapped in a child seat in the back of the vehicle. It was a hot day and the car was sitting in the sun.

I was going into the library, so I hoped that the parent would only be gone long enough to return a book. However, when I came out, the child was still there. I got into my car and was about to call the police, but before I did, the parent came out and drove away. I did jot down the license number.

I couldn't get the little boy out of my mind, so I phoned to report the incident to the police this afternoon. Perhaps it will keep that parent from doing it again. I know I should have taken action the moment I saw the child, and I feel guilty that I did not.

Abby, please remind your readers that children should NEVER be left alone in a car. Anyone who sees a child in an unattended car should phone the police immediately. I'm glad the baby didn't die because of my inaction. -- ILLINOIS PARENT

DEAR ILLINOIS PARENT: Thank you for a timely reminder. Health experts warn that on a breezy day with the temperature only in the low 70s, the interior of a closed automobile can heat up to 125 degrees in 15 minutes. Even with the window cracked, a child could dehydrate within minutes -- with deadly results. And the same goes for pets.