On Friday morning, August 5, between 11 and 11:30 a.m., I was parked in downtown Trail while running a few errands.
When I returned to my car, I noticed that since I had been gone, a silver Toyota Sienna had parked next to me – and inside were sitting an infant and a toddler with no adult in sight.
Although the outside temperature was only 22 degrees at the time and at least one window had been lowered a few inches, we all know from experience that the heat inside a vehicle climbs significantly, especially when the sun is shining directly on the windows. The children appeared agitated and my heart leapt into my throat with great trepidation for their safety.
I waited in my car for their parent to appear so I could kindly approach her/him to express my concern; however, when she arrived and I got out of my car, waved, and said “Excuse me,” she apparently didn’t hear rne as she jumped into her vehicle, quickly backed out and drove away.
In fairly recent years, a babysitter had taken four small children to the grocery store and, upon arriving home and taking out the groceries, had forgotten the children inside the van. The temperature skyrocketed inside the vehicle killing all four children.
ln another incident, a father was hurried on his way to work and had forgotten to drop the baby off at the babysitter’s house. He discovered the infant in his car after work. The child had passed away due to dehydration and heat exhaustion.
In yet another incident, a mother had left her two young ones in the van while she made a stop at the pharmacy.
A Good Samaritan parked nearby called 911 after several minutes had passed. When the parent finally came out of the pharmacy, the police had already broken a window to remove the children. They were severely dehydrated, lethargic, and soaked from perspiration, but thankfully still alive.
Indeed, it is challenging to try to find a babysitter or a neighbor who can watch the children for an hour, or having to tow children along on errands. However, leaving small children in a vehicle for even “five minutes” can turn into tragedy and heartache.
Parents, please do not hesitate to ask a family member, friend or neighbor for help. And, neighbors, let’s offer our assistance, especially to mothers with young children. lt takes a village.