The tragic story of a child's death after being left in a vehicle on a hot summer day in Oklahoma leaves us wondering how this could happen.

But in the multi-tasking busy world we inhabit, we can see how a frazzled parent or caregiver could get distracted and go on to another matter instead of tending to a sleeping child.

The details of Tuesday's Payne County death have yet to emerge, but DHS and Oklahoma law enforcement officials are responding to a number of incidents where children are being left unattended in hot automobiles.

There were seven deaths in Oklahoma as a result of children being left in or entrapped in automobiles between 1997 and 2000. Nationwide, at least 31 such deaths are recorded each year in the U.S., according to the Associated Press.

Public service messages aired by Oklahoma broadcasters remind parents and caregivers not to leave children unattended for any reason, especially during the heat of an Oklahoma summer. The DHS began airing the messages in 2000.

The best preventive measure is to be alert for children -- anyone's children -- left alone in a vehicle and notify law enforcement immediately.

Often, we don't think it's our place to get involved in someone else's life. Consider a child left in a vehicle the same as if a child were walking out onto a highway. In both scenarios, the odds are stacked against them and adults, related or not, have an obligation to intervene.

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