Have you ever left a kid in a hot car?

By Kevin Canessa

As someone who spent four full years in the oppressive heat of South Florida, it should come as no surprise that yours truly is a bit tired of the heat of the last few weeks. In fact, Sept. 22, the first day of autumn, can’t get here quick enough for me.

But it was the heat of the last few weeks — and an email we got in this office last week — about a survey regarding parents who leave their kids in parked cars that really got to me. The survey’s results are extremely alarming, so much so that I’d like the share them with you.

The survey, taken by Kars4Kids.org — you know the jingle and probably can’t get it out of your head now … sorry — revealed:

  • Only 16% of parents surveyed — 2,500 participated — say they are concerned they could ever “forget” their kid in a hot car.
  • A whopping 78% who were asked think negatively of a parent who, even by accident, leaves a kid in a car. This, of course, means 22% don’t think poorly of such parents.
  • Nearly 11.5% think it’s OK to leave a child in a car for a few minutes.
  • Perhaps the most stunning part of the survey — 69.9% of those surveyed said they would never, ever, even remotely, forget they’ve left a child in a car. (Sadly, it’s happened before, parents have been imprisoned and children have died from such errors.)
  • Only 15% say they’ve taken precautions to ensure they don’t leave their kids in a car.
  • Just 4.7% admitted to forgetting a child in a car.

A few things really stick out here. That 11.5% of those surveyed believe it’s acceptable to leave a child in a car for a few minutes is mind-numbing. Think of last week. Try to recall even one day where you got into a car after it sat in the heat for hours on end. Do you remember how hot it was? Now, think of a child being left in a car with that kind of heat — even for 5 or 10 minutes.

Could you even begin to imagine what such heat would do to a child? I recall sitting in a car for about 20 seconds last week before it was turned on — and before the A/C started up — and I was sweating profusely … and yet there are some out there who think it’s OK to keep a child in a car for a few minutes?

Maybe we live in different worlds.

The bottom line is it appears many people out there think it can’t happen to them. Yet it does continue to happen — every year when the temps are warm. Perhaps the time has come for more parents to think twice about leaving their kids in a warm vehicle.

Before tragedy strikes and it’s too late.

Read the entire survey and its results at bit.ly/hotcarsurvey.

A word of thanks

I have had the honor of writing several stories in our series about addiction. I thank each and every person who so openly and proudly shared their stories with me (us.) We move on to bullying next week as the new school year kicks off. And if anyone out there is willing to share stories of how they were bullied — whether as a child, in the workplace, etc. — we’d love to hear from you. And just because the addiction portion is over, it doesn’t mean we can’t revisit the topic down the line.

If you would like to share your story — of bullying, addiction — our doors are still open. Contact us by sending an email to editorial@theobserver.com, kc@theobserver.com or lisa@theobserver.com. We will grant anonymity to anyone who doesn’t wish to use their name publicly.

Enjoy what remains of this week, one and all. See you back here in a few weeks.

The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the writer, Kevin Canessa, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Observer, its owners or its management. Contact Canessa by email at kc@theobserver.com.

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.