The death of Castiel King, a 2-year-old boy who was found unresponsive in an automobile parked at the family’s east Dothan home Friday evening, is a horrific reminder of the intensity of summer heat. Each spring come reminders that temperatures are inching up, and that children, pets, and the elderly should not be left shut up in vehicles, or otherwise subjected to harsh conditions. Despite this, there are occasional reports of animals left in cars with the windows up and without water, so much so that some areas have made provisions to shield Samaritans who break a window to rescue an animal.

Castiel’s horror began innocently enough. Police believe the youngster climbed into the sports car on his own in the middle of the afternoon and then could not get out. It was very hot Friday, and the interior of the vehicle could have risen as much as 20 degrees or higher than the ambient temperature. By the time Castiel was discovered several hours later, it was too late.

Castiel’s death is a tragedy of epic proportions. He leaves a mother and father and siblings. The parents have been charged with manslaughter, because police say they left the child unattended and were sleeping and under the influence of marijuana while the child was trapped in the car outside.

It should also be a cautionary tale, a jarring and unforgettable incident to underscore the dangers of summer heat, and that tragedy can strike quickly and irreversibly.

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