I usually try to focus on pleasant topics for my “Message,” but sometimes it’s more important to give attention to a subject that is so tragic, we don’t want think about it until it’s too late. The truth is, more than 50 children died in hot cars in 2018, making it the deadliest year on record. Many of these cases involved a parent, grandparent or childcare worker who unknowingly left a child behind.
With the end of another school year and the advent of summer, our thoughts turn to the anticipation of summer vacations, long days to enjoy the outdoors, fun at the lake or pool – carefree times to look forward to. To prepare for our favorite summer pursuits, we are reminded to practice safety – around water, in case of lightning, firework safety, care around campfires and grills, sun protection and the list goes on. But along with the warmer weather of summer comes another serious danger – the danger for infants and children of being inadvertently left in a hot car.
Nobody ever thinks they will leave their baby or toddler in the car, but it happens. Parents magazine offers 10 tips to help prevent you from accidently leaving your child in the car.
Be extra alert if your routine changes. That’s when the risk of unintentionally leaving your child in your car increases.
2. Put something of your child’s, like a toy, on the front seat. Even if you can’t see your child in the backseat (especially if he’s in a rear-facing car seat), the toy should trigger a reminder that he’s there.
3. Leave an item you’ll need at your next destination in the backseat, such as your cell phone, purse, or briefcase.
3. Place your child’s car seat in the middle of the backseat (if the seat and vehicle manufacturer deem that position safe) rather than behind the driver seat. That way, it’s easier to see your baby in the rearview mirror.
4. Set up a system with your child-care provider. If you don’t plan to drop off your child that day, call her. If you don’t drop off your baby as planned on days she is expecting you, have the caregiver call you.
5. Discuss the topic of hot-car deaths with every person who drives your child anywhere. This includes partners, grandparents, babysitters, and friends.
6. Always “look before you lock.” Get in the habit of checking the backseat every time you get out of the car.
Any parent or caregiver, even a very loving and attentive one, can forget a child is in the back seat. Being especially busy or distracted or having a change from the usual routine increases the risk. That’s why having a plan is imperative. The tips above are a few of the strategies experts recommend so you never have to suffer the tragedy of losing your child to a hot car.