It is that time of year again. Summer’s heat claims lives. Most of these deaths, if not all of them, are avoidable. Despite a wealth of evidence to show the dangers of excessive heat, though, some people won’t learn. Consider the case of this Canadian mother who got caught leaving her children in her car while she went grocery shopping.
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Multiple witnesses saw the children locked in the dark Lexus SUV. They were in the car without air conditioning for 20 minutes while their mother was in the store. The six-year-old girl and the three-year-old by were reported to be in distress.
Someone called the authorities. Vancouver police responded. An ambulance and fire crew did, too.
When the mother showed up in the parking lot, an officer gave her a stern lecture. Much of it revolved around her intentions.
“No, you don’t seem to understand the danger you’ve put these children into,” the officer scolded. The mother then tried to justify her actions. “Listen to me,” he says. “You’re talking when you should be listening. Your children could have died. The windows were up, it’s hot out.”
“Why are you arguing? Do you want me to seize your kids and you’ll never see them again?”
No charges were filed against the mother. The mother, the Vancouver Sun reports, was reported to Canadian child services.
Vancouver police chief Adam Palmer supported his officer’s decision to lecture the woman. Palmer said the officer is a “highly respected member of the police department’ and a ‘hard-working, dedicated officer.”
“I know that he has children of his own and you have to remember that police officers are just people. We’re all human beings and everyone may react slightly differently to every set of circumstances and he was trying to convey to the woman the seriousness of what she’d done to the children.”
The mother defended her decision by saying the mild temperatures in Vancouver were not a threat to her children’s health. It was just below 70 degrees. Yet the temperature inside the car, even when the outside air is temperate, can exceed 120 degrees.