Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Once is too often

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Two Canadian children, one in Ontario and another in Alberta, are dead after being left in cars in the daytime heat. Governments and agencies are once again issuing seasonal warnings to parents and guardians about the rapid, debilitating effects of even a little heat, magnified in the confines of a car.

No sensible adult intends to put a child's life at risk. Some who study the predictable misfortune that strikes children every summer this way believe at root is happenstance -- parents or guardians who forget that small children are in the back seat or believe they'll be just a couple of minutes away from the car.

The warnings are valid but the message must be more than a seasonal reminder. The tragedy that befalls victims and their families in summer often results from warm weather, but risk prevails through the year. The summer-time lapse of judgment can be the fallout of a dangerous habit formed in the other eight months, when parents believe risk is diminished and leave their children alone in vehicles.

The danger is inherent in any season: Young children should not be left unsupervised in a vehicle, at any time.

A 30-second quick dash into the corner store can turn into a lifetime of regret. It might be a royal pain to unlatch toddlers, babies and youngsters when running in to pay a bill or buy a carton of milk. That inconvenience is no comparison to the suffering that results when a child is injured or dies.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 6, 2013 A14

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