I never really thought it could be possible until I read about it in Parents Magazine last month. How could a parent leave their child in the car for the entire work day? Don’t you remember putting your baby in the car? Don’t you talk to your little one the whole ride? Even if they are asleep, don’t you check your mirror to see they are okay during your ride?
This happens though. Just yesterday, here in Georgia, a father left his 22 month old in the car for 8 hours while he went into work. It was well over 90 degrees outside. Last year over 43 children died of heat stroke after being left in a vehicle. This year – the number is already up to 14 (kidsandcars.org).
Supposedly, these parents forget to drop the baby at daycare because they are tired/zonked out/doing something out of routine. While I have no idea how I could ever forget Annabelle in the backseat of my car, there are parents who have done it.
KidsAndCars.org is making July 31st Heat Stroke Prevention Day. The organization will be handing out educational pamphlets all over the U.S. On that pamphlet will be some Look Before You Lock safety education tips.
- Get in the habit of always opening the back door of your vehicle every time you reach your destination to check to make sure no child – or pet – has been left behind.
- Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat. Right before the child is placed in the seat, move the stuffed animal to the front passenger seat as a visual reminder that your child is in the back seat.
- Put something you’ll need on the floorboard in the back seat in front of your child’s car seat (cell phone, handbag, employee ID, briefcase, etc.). This ensures you open the back door of your vehicle to retrieve your belongings.
- Make arrangements with your daycare provider or babysitter to call you within 10 minutes if your child does not arrive as expected.
- Never leave children alone in or around cars, not even for a minute. Instead, use drive-thru services when available.
- Since the group began tracking data, at least 675 children have died in these preventable tragedies.
- Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway and keep car keys and remote openers out of reach of children.
- When a child is missing, check vehicles and car trunks immediately.
Help spread the word to always look before you lock your doors. These tragedies are preventable!