Now that it's summer, there's been a rash of sad stories about kids being left in hot cars and either dying or becoming horribly ill. Just this morning Linda Sharps posted about a dad who forgot his baby in the middle of a heat wave. And like she says, it could happen to anyone. Janette Fennell, founder and president of KidsandCars.org, wants everyone to know: "The lion's share of these incidents happen to the best of parents. The biggest mistake someone can make is thinking it can't happen to you."
An average of 38 children die each year from being left inside a hot car. And even more come close -- like the 16-month-old girl who suffered a seizure after being left inside an SUV while her mother shopped.
So are there any safety guidelines to keep in mind to prevent these accidents?
I can think of a few:
Okay, so we get the picture now, right? Because it seems like every sad story about a child dying in a hot car involves a parent who thought they'd be gone for just a few minutes, or who didn't realize how hot it was, or forgot their child was with them (okay, that one is extremely rare).
So I think we parents need to operate from that cliche: "Hope for the best but expect the worst." Or there's the pithy "shit happens." In other words, even if you're just running a quick errand, assume that something unexpected is going to happen to delay you. This is the one time when it actually pays to be a pessimist! And pester your friends and family about this, too. Better to save a life than to protect someone from your annoying nagging.
Have you ever taken the risk of leaving your kids in the car just for a few minutes?
Image via IngaMun/Flickr