The recent tragic death of an 11 month old left in a car has really affected me. The baby’s Dad was supposed to drop him at day care, and somehow forgot. The baby was left in the car all day, and did not survive. I wasn’t sure why this story was bothering me so much; then I watched an interview on ABC with a US Mum who lost her daughter is the exact same circumstances. Listening to her talk about it, I was struck with the realization: this could happen to me.
While most parents are shaking their heads, and thinking they would NEVER do such a thing, I am quite aware that I am prone to memory lapses already. I’m that person who has left the iron on and had to go home to turn it off. I frequently forget which way I’m driving and have to adjust my route. I’m always late, and hurrying a million miles an hour to get places. I am not immune to this; It could happen to me. (If you think it could never happen to you, I do urge you to watch the interview with the US Mum. It really could happen to lots of us, or even someone else who is looking after our child).
There are a few really basic things that we can do to ensure that it doesn’t happen though, and this is why I am writing this post. I really want to share them with you. The first, most simple, one came from this article where the author spoke of implementing a head count rule. Before leaving count heads, upon arriving count heads. It’s so simple, but such a good idea. I have starting doing this already. It seems a little silly, as my girls are with me 99.9% of the time, but I figured why not build the habit now.
The next one is an ingenious idea by a very cool kid. It’s called the The E-Z Baby Saver, and it is a simple cord you can make yourself that hooks over your door handle and forces you to remember to grab the kids out. Cheap, simple and effective.
This one is from the US Mum, who recommends you make an arrangement with your child care centre that they will call if the child does not arrive at their usual time/day. This is probably the most important, as the vast majority of these deaths are occurring at the child care drop off. The details on how to set it up, and other advice can be found here.
The last one is from the website kidsandcars, and has some fantastic tips. This whole site is worth checking out. Their biggest tip is the ‘look before you lock’, which means opening your back door every time you leave your car and before you lock it. I also like their idea that you put your handbag in the back seat.
It will probably never happen to me, or anyone I know, but I have to say finding some steps I can take to ensure it doesn’t gives me more peace of mind.