No errand trumps leaving child in hot car

Freedom New Mexico

A South Texas tragedy is a good reminder for eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle these days:

Never leave a child unattended in a car, especially when it’s hot out.

Felicitas Alexandra Cordova died Sunday after she was found in her family’s Ford Expedition at a flea market just north of Brownsville.

According to police, the family says the 4-year-old girl went by herself to the large SUV, climbed in and went to sleep while her mother tended a booth at the flea market. Temperatures that day were around 96 degrees, which could have heated the vehicle to more than 140 degrees.

The mother has been charged with abandoning or endangering a child. The matter of allowing a 4-year-old girl to wander off in the middle of a large public place crowded with strangers is bad enough. Allowing that child to go alone to a hot vehicle is equally unconscionable.

It’s almost surprising that Felicitas’ death is just the nation’s 23rd death this year of a child left in a car.

Every year, children are found alone in cars across our region.

Parents usually say they didn’t want to wake the children who were asleep in the vehicles as the parents shopped, applied for jobs or did other tasks.

It should go without saying that no errand is more important than the safety of one’s own child.

But in addition to arrests of parents who leave their children unattended and heavy media coverage of virtually every such incident, the message apparently doesn’t sink into the heads of some people.

Temperatures soar to unbearable levels — especially for a child — in a car in the summer, even if windows are left “cracked open” a little. This can quickly result in heat-related injury or death.

Yes, parents usually say they only intended to be gone a few minutes, but there is no telling what might delay their return. There is just no excuse for doing this. The danger is too great.