How Many Kids Need to Die in Hot Cars Before We Realize Change Starts With Us?

Baby boy crying in the car seat

There's only but so much agonizing news you can hear before you say, "Enough is enough." The loss of a single child is already incomprehensible, and yet, too many little ones are perishing from accidents that are preventable. Hannah Secondi, an Oklahoma mom arrested for leaving her baby in a hot car, joins a growing list of people who've recently made headlines for leaving their child in a vehicle. And while Hannah's 1-year-old thankfully did not die, her story is yet another horrifying reminder of why we, as parents, must do better.




If the saying "It takes a village to raise a child" is really true, I'm calling a town meeting. Yes, accidents can happen to the best of parents, but there are far too many preventable tragedies occurring that are taking too many of our precious babies.

(As I'm writing this, news of Good Samaritans rescuing a 2-year-old left in a hot car is making headlines. Police plan to charge the mother for endangering her child.)

The Department of Meteorology & Climate Science at San Jose State University reveals 23 children suffered heatstroke deaths in hot cars this year alone -- and we're not even done with 2016! (In 2015, 24 kids died as a result of being left inside a hot car.) Seeing as estimates 55 percent of children who died in hot cars were unknowingly left, I'd say we have a serious oversight issue that needs fixing and fast.

I'm not afraid to admit that my blood boils every time I hear about one of these tragedies. As easy as it is to feel awful for a parent coping with the loss of a child, all I can think about are the screams, the sweat, and the excruciating agony that helpless little one felt before leaving this earth.

As a mom of 2- and 1-year-old kiddos, I know firsthand how real the parenting struggle can be. Between mom brain, trying to keep up with the daily list of to-dos, and making sure nobody burns down your house, chaos and forgetfulness practically go hand in hand.

That, however, does not mean I don't take extra precautions to help ensure my babies are safe.

More from CafeMom: 7 Tips to Ensure You Don't Leave your Baby in a Hot Car (Yes, You)

While there have been more times that I've left something important at my house -- or in my car -- than I'd like to admit, I can honestly say my children aren't on that list. Maybe it's because I'm a cop's daughter, or that I'm constantly worried about "the killer" hiding in my backseat, but I always check the inside of my car before entering and exiting.

And you know what? Those extra two or three seconds it takes to do so are likely a lifesaving decision.

Honestly, I don't know what else it's going to take for moms and dads to add looking in the backseat of their vehicle as part of their daily routines. Yes, it's become very easy in this modern and on-the-go world to operate on "auto-pilot," but at some point, we all need to do a little more to help protect our children -- especially when we all know how easy it is to get distracted.

If the terrible news of kids dying inside cars and more police bringing charges on parents involved doesn't make any of us think twice about our actions, I don't know what on earth will.

All I can do is pray and do my best to protect my kids. I also hope I am in the right place at the right time should one of these unthinkable events occur in my area. If I ever come across a child left inside a hot car, you better believe I'm calling 911 and am going to get that baby free!

More from CafeMom: Kids Who Die in Hot Cars: When It's Murder & When It's Not

So, fellow moms and dads of the world, what say you? Can we make the promise to ourselves and each other to take a few more seconds each day to help ensure our child does not make the news for being forgotten in a hot car? Will we be more watchful in our day-to-day routine, possibly becoming a hero who intervenes should our paths cross with someone's precious little one who has been forgotten?

The more vigilant we are as parents, the greater the chance there is to intervene. These accidents are so preventable, if we only try a little harder to take a pause in our lives full of busyness and distractions. And while products on the market to make this job easier would be great, we need to look to ourselves for the solution.

It starts with us, and it needs to end with us. Our children's lives depend on our ability to be more observant.

Meeting adjourned.




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