Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer: Save the Children

Summer has been my favorite season since I was 13.

When I was 12 and living in New Jersey, my parents sent me away from home for the first time, to be the youngest kid in a summer camp for twelve- to eighteen-year-olds -- for a month. That miserable summer is the one against which all my summers have been compared, and every other summer topped the one I spent away from family and friends in Minnesota.

That summer's experience was not without some benefits realized many years later. I played softball one afternoon at camp, and a couple of years ago, I reconnected with Brian, the only friend I made that summer.

With the exception of one summer in high school when I took Physical Education and had the time of my life swimming and playing dodge ball and softball with Keith, Kelly, Eric, Rob, Carla and others, summer meant freedom from school and many responsibilities, and afforded more hours of daylight to enjoy each and every day. Summer gets hot where I live, and I still play softball in it. Season 21 begins tomorrow.

Every summer, we read about three or four kids whose lives are ended in a hot car while negligent parents and caregivers conduct their business elsewhere. I have noticed that never more than a few such stories make the major news publications every year, and I was curious as to how often this actually happens.

There have been ten child heatstroke deaths in vehicles in America in the past month, with an average of 38 such deaths per year for the past 15 years.*

Why aren't these events reported more frequently?

Would many continue to subscribe to news media that feature a child dying in a hot car every three days?

Even if the Fourth Estate isn't willing to report it, perhaps enough of us can prevent it from happening.