I read today that more than 500 children have died in hot cars since 2008. As much as you and I want to respond, “That could never happen to me!” It could. In most cases it happens when a parent is sleep deprived (do you know many parents who aren’t?) or under stress or have had a change in routine. And they simply, horribly, tragically forget.
So what can we do about it? Let me share a few ideas. I don’t care how certain you are it couldn’t happen to you; isn’t it worth taking a few extra steps to be sure? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has an excellent list of tips. I’m just going to highlight a couple here, but please visit their site and read them all.
Child Safety Tips – Hot Cars
- Call 911 immediately if you see a child alone in a car. If they are hot or seem sick, get them out as quickly as possible.
- Never EVER leave a child alone in a car – not even for a minute, not even if the windows are down.
- Put something in the back seat that you will need when you arrive at your destination, e.g. a cell phone, purse or briefcase… something to force you to see your child.
- If you’ve had a change of routine, set a reminder on your cell phone to be sure that you drop your child at daycare.
- Ask your childcare provider to call if your child ever does not arrive when expected.
- Keep a teddy bear or toy in the front passenger seat any time a child is riding in the back to remind yourself.
- When parked at home lock car doors and always keep keys out of reach of young children. Teach children not to play in or around cars.
- If a child is missing, check the car and truck first.
Sure it sounds like a lot of extra work for a tired parent, but don’t you think those hundreds of parents who lost their kids in this horribly tragic way would give anything, do anything to go back and change it. Please, it really can happen to anyone. Take the steps to be sure it’s not your sweet child we hear about on the evening news.
Please share this with other parents!