DEAR ABBY: With summer here, many families will do at least some traveling, which involves spending significant amounts of time in the family car or truck. I'd like to remind your readers that it is now illegal in many states to leave a child, a disabled person or a pet unattended in a vehicle for ANY length of time. The reason is that temperatures inside a vehicle -- especially with the windows rolled up -- can rise to dangerous, even deadly, levels very quickly.
Tests by the National Weather Service have shown that when it's 80 degrees F outside, the interior of a vehicle with the windows rolled up, or just cracked open, can reach 123 degrees within 60 minutes! Such temperatures can induce heat exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke, within a very short time, and quickly kill a child, a pet or a disabled person.
Abby, I urge you in the strongest terms to help spread this vital warning and prevent needless tragedies of this kind. As the National Weather Service says, "Look Before You Lock," and "Beat the Heat -- Check the Back Seat!" -- TOM THE STORM SPOTTER
DEAR TOM: I'm pleased to help you bring this information to the attention of my readers. I was shocked when I read a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stating that an average of 38 children have died in hot cars each year since 1998. More than 70 percent of those deaths were children younger than 2 years of age. How tragic! And readers, not parking in direct sunlight won't make the car significantly cooler. Heat stroke deaths have occurred even when the vehicle was parked in the shade.