Living in the Dallas â€“ Fort Worth area of North Texas means that heat in the summer is a given. It is not unusual to have several days in a row where temperatures shoot past the 100 degree mark. We all know how to deal with it safely; itâ€™s just part of living here.
Every single summer there are several news reports of small children being left in the backseats of cars because the parent or the caretaker forgot that they were there. Once in a while the story has a happy ending and someone discovers the child before it is too late. More often the story is tragic and the child dies.
It is easy to criticize the adults involved and be angry that such a thing could occur. The truth of the matter is that not one of these adults left the house expecting to forget that their child was in the car. Many of them had seen the news reports about this very thing in the past and wondered what kind of parent could let that happen.
Anyone can have a moment when they are preoccupied, stressed, or busy on the phone and forget that they have a sleeping passenger in the car seat. It doesnâ€™t take very long for the child to die from heat in a closed up car.
Here are five habits to help prevent this from ever happening to you.
Use Your Purse as a Reminder
Get in the habit of keeping your purse in the back seat. When you get to your destination you will have to turn around and grab your purse, and if your little one is in the back seat you will see him. Do this even when your child isnâ€™t with you to make it automatic to place your purse or other belongings in the back seat. Itâ€™s an easy thing to do.
Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat or back seat when your child isnâ€™t with you. When she is with you take the toy and place it next to you on the front seat as a reminder that you have a baby on board.
We live in a busy society and we multi-task all the time. It is easy to be distracted by cell phone calls, lists we make in our heads, and other disruptions. Learn to put the cell phone and other distractions aside and focus on your driving and your child.
Use Your iPhone
There is an app for iPhones called Baby Reminder that will remind you that your child is with you. You can also set an alarm on your phone to remind you when you get to your destination. If it takes you 20 minutes to get to the store just set your alarm to go off in 20 minutes.
Ask for Help
Leave instructions with your day care to call you if your child hasnâ€™t arrived within five minutes of when she was expected to. This may mean you get an interruption when you are running late but it could also remind you that you forgot to drop her off at day care.
Finally, kids sometimes climb into unlocked cars to play. Keep your car locked at all times so that children canâ€™t get in. If you see a child alone in a car, err on the side of safety and alert security or police. If the child looks ill or weak, get him out of the car as fast as you can.
And remember, pets can overheat, too. Never leave your pet in the car in the summer, even with the window cracked. The temperature can rise more than 20 degrees in the car in just a few minutes.
photo credit: treehouse1977