I know. Your first initial response is "Hell no!" Your second response is "OMG! Who does that?" But honestly, could you? Just maybe?
How many times have you driven to work and can't remember the drive? How many times have you forgotten your purse or wallet at home? How many times have you walked into a store and realized you left your purse in the car? Or better yet, locked your keys in the car? How many times have you been on the phone, got out of your car, and realized you left the package you set out to return was still in the back seat?
How many times as a new parent have you been over tired? Been up all night with a newborn or a sick toddler? Been so tired you can barely think straight?
How many times have you forgotten your child was actually in the car because he/she was so quiet or sleeping soundly? You didn't forget him in the car but were startled from your thoughts when he let out a sound?
Are you capable of forgetting a child in the back seat?
It happened nearly 40 times last year. According to the kidsandcars.org, a car safety website for parents, there has already been 12 cases this year.
Twelve innocent children forgotten by their caretakers. Left in a car that reached over 125 degrees in a matter of minutes.
How does this happen?
According to kidsandcars.org:
There are several factors that contribute to children being inadvertently forgotten by care givers. Paramount is the fact that our brains are not keeping up with the demands of our busy lives. The most common factors include a change in one’s normal routine, lack of sleep, stress, fatigue, distractions and hormone changes. When these factors combine, the ability for the brain to multi‐task is diminished. As parents know, life with newborns and small children is full of stress, sleep deprivation and distractions. And young children, especially babies, often fall asleep in their car seats; becoming quiet, unobtrusive little passengers. And sadly, for babies with rear‐facing seats, the seat looks the same from the front seat – whether occupied or not.
The website offers very informative statistics and important tips to help prevent this horrific accident.
- Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute. Put something you'll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, etc., on the floor board in the back seat.
- Get in the habit of always opening the back door of your vehicle every time you reach your destination to make sure no child has been left behind. This will soon become a habit. We call this the “Look Before You Lock” campaign.
- Keep a large stuffed animal in the child's car seat when it’s not occupied. When the child is placed in the seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It's a visual reminder that anytime the stuffed animal is up front you know the child is in the back seat in a child safety seat.
- Make arrangements with your child’s day care center or babysitter that you will always call if your child will not be there on a particular day as scheduled.
- Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway and always set your parking brake.
- Keys and/or remote openers should never be left within reach of children.
- Make sure all child passengers have left the vehicle after it is parked.
- When a child is missing, check vehicles and car trunks immediately.
- If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. If they are hot or seem sick, get them out as quickly as possible. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
- Be especially careful about keeping children safe in and around cars during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.
- Use drive‐thru services when available. (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.)
- Use your debit or credit card to pay for gas at the pump.
People may argue that we need to slow down. That our minds are too preoccupied.
They are probably right.
We are all capable of the unthinkable. Please don't say you're not. I'm certain the parents of all those innocent children thought the same thing.
We are all capable of forgetting.
Vehicular heat stroke is largely misunderstood by the general public. The majority of parents would like to believe that they could never “forget” their child in a vehicle. The most dangerous mistake a parent or caregiver can make is to think it cannot happen to them or their family. In well over 50% of these cases, the person responsible for the child’s death unknowingly left them in the vehicle. It happens to the most loving, protective parents. It has happened to a teacher, pediatrician, dentist, postal clerk, social worker, police officer, nurse, clergyman, electrician, accountant, soldier, assistant principal, and even a rocket scientist. It can happen to anyone.
For additional information about ways to keep children safe in and around vehicles, visit www.KidsAndCars.org
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