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by Abigail Van Buren

Summer Heat Poses Added Risk to Kids in Cars

DEAR ABBY: Please repeat a warning to your readers. Here in Tennessee, at least two young children have died recently as the result of being left inside a parent's car on a hot day. Although many, if not most, states have passed laws against leaving children alone in a parked car (as well as people with disabilities and pets), too often those laws are ignored, knowingly or unknowingly. People still don't understand how dangerously hot the interior of a car or truck can get, and how quickly it can happen.

The temperature inside a car with the windows rolled up can rise as much as 20 degrees in 10 minutes. Within an hour, the interior of a car can easily become hot enough to cause heatstroke, which can prove fatal to children, an elderly or disabled person, or a pet. Even on cloudy days, inside temperatures can reach dangerous levels.

Because of this risk, the National Weather Service uses a slogan: "Look Before You Lock!" TV and radio stations across the country have joined this effort, and a number of websites and videos are available that focus on this important message. Abby, would you please print this commonsense reminder? -- TOM IN FAIRVIEW, TENN.

DEAR TOM: I'm pleased to join this campaign to save lives. Readers, if you are transporting loved ones -- including your pets -- resolve to stay focused on their safety rather than the next task on your to-do list. These tragedies seem to happen when drivers are so distracted by what has to be done next that they forget about what's going on in the present.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Health & Safety