Mom's Plea After Son Gets Stuck in a Hot Car: Make Sure Your Kid Knows How to Escape

amy amos
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It's so easy to judge parenting mistakes from the outside, but as one Columbus, Ohio, mom learned, mistakes can happen more easily than you think. In a viral blog post called "I would never forget my child in a hot car...," photographer Amy Amos describes every parent's worst nightmare.

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After a day at the pool with her kids, Amos, a mother of three, explains she was getting out of her car and "carrying in wet towels and swim trunks, my wallet, keys, the camera, and a lens that I was worried about dropping, *and* I'm pregnant with twins and had to pee." She made sure to unbuckle her 4-year-old son, Henry, from his seat and left the door open so he could climb out while she carried the rest of their things inside.

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In her blog post, Amos reasons, "[Henry] often walks inside slowly, stopping to look at random crumbs in the car seat or ants on the ground. Our neighborhood is relatively safe, he knows not to wander off, he knows how to open the front door by himself. My older kids were also walking inside, he wasn't even alone."

But, 10 minutes later, Amos realized she hadn't heard her son's voice yet.

After frantically searching the house, Amos and her two daughters found Henry in the car, "sweating and sobbing with his face pressed against the window."

"It turns out that as we walked inside earlier he was laying on the floor of the car looking for his lost flip flop. One of the other kids thought he had already gotten out and that he had just left his car door open, so she closed it trying to be helpful."

It was a mistake -- an easily understood mistake -- that almost changed her life forever. As Amos puts it, "Thank God it was only ten minutes. I may never recover."

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We all like to think accidents like this can't happen to us, but the sad reality is these things happen every day, and often with much more heartbreaking outcomes. According to noheatstroke.org, 30 kids have already died as a result of heat stroke from being left in a hot car in 2017. Around 54 percent of hot car deaths from 1998 to 2016 were from caregivers accidentally forgetting their child in the car, but as much as 28 percent of incidents were from children playing and getting stuck in an unattended vehicle, which is why Amos wants parents to make sure their kids know what to do.

She writes, "Tonight I realized my son, who will be four in just a few days, couldn't open the car doors from the inside by himself ... He's strong, he's big for his age, and he's smart. But the door handle didn't open easily for him and he panicked."

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Amos says she is going to do drills with her youngest son so that he knows how to open the door handles, unbuckle his seat belt, and honk the horn if he's ever trapped in the car alone. And she's encouraging other parents to do the same:

"It should be something that preschool kids are taught, just like we tell them what to do in case of a house fire. We have fire drills. Why not car escape drills? We teach them how to swim, how to float on their backs if they fall in water accidentally and can't get out, yet we don't teach them how to get out of the car sitting in the driveway."

Heatstroke in vehicles can be prevented, but it takes more parents with vulnerability and courage like Amy Amos to speak out and show their flaws publicly so that we all can learn from their mistakes.

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