Car Seat Alarms Won't Prevent Parents From Leaving Kids in Hot Cars
Did you get all excited when you saw companies were building alarms to save you from being the next mom or dad featured in a "baby left in hot car" headline? Welcome to the club. Now put away your wallets.
You don't need to buy any fancy schmancy electronic device to prevent the horror of forgetting your baby in the car on a hot (or cold) day. Good thing too ... because new research has found the possibly well-intentioned products being picked up by very well-meaning parents aren't worth the money. Sorry folks, but it's true.
The researchers who looked at car seat sensors including the ChildMinder Smart Pad System, the Deluxe Padded Safety Seat Alarm System, and SafeBABI found a load of "inconsistencies." Cellphones got in the way. The devices would turn themselves on or off. A liquid spill would cause a malfunction.
I could go on, but you get the picture. If you're looking for fail-safe, these aren't going to help you. Actually, if you're looking for fail-safe, never going out in a car with your baby is probably your only option because LIFE HAPPENS. Very good parents have had this happen to them, and it could happen to anyone.
Fortunately, there ARE some things you can do, easily, and without breaking the bank, to help keep yourself on the ball:
1. Put your purse or wallet in the backseat. We have a tendency to put these beside us, so we can grab and go. But if they're in the backseat beside the baby, "grab and go" isn't going to happen.
2. Store something large in the carseat and move it to the front seat when baby's buckled in. That visual reminder right next to you is hard to ignore even when you're frazzled. Make sure it's something big enough to notice, and some bright colors don't hurt. This is a good use for that ugly fuchsia stuffed mouse that Great Aunt Betsy made.
3. Set up a regular phone call system with your daycare provider. Often the "baby left in hot car" tragedies seem to happen when a parent varies their routine to take a child to daycare for their partner. A daycare provider who knows to call if the baby hasn't arrived by a certain time can avert tragedy.
4. Hang something from your rear view mirror when baby is in the backseat. Another visual reminder, this works well if you make a routine: hang it up after you strap in baby; remove it and stow it in your console when you remove baby. One of those dangly baby toys from the stroller works good for this.
What are your tricks for making sure you don't make a tragic mistake with your sleeping baby?
Image via Brent D Payne/Flickr
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