Kids and hot cars do not mix! In this world of technology, we all too often are distracted in the car. As parents, our brains tend to go a mile a minute and if it is not a habit we might forget our most precious gift is sleeping quietly in the backseat. What are some of your thoughts on this (difficult but important to discuss) topic?
Scrambling Stepmom: Leaving/ locking my daughter in the car is one of my worst fears! I always keep my keys in my hand, and NEVER shut the car door without having them. I also never shut my door completely if I have to get out really quick and I don’t take her out with me, just to be sure my doors don’t accidentally lock with her in there. I find myself checking her car-seat even when I know she is not with me. Another little thing I do to ensure that I do not accidentally leave her in the car is put my wallet and phone in her diaper bag (in the back seat) because I will need those things wherever I go. I would like to see a year where ZERO children die because of this!
The Not-So-Single Mom: I am OCD about leaving my child in the car. I know how often it happens, and how hot it gets here in FL. Most of the time I am the one with the baby in the car by myself. Wait, it’s always me. He’s never left the house without me with the baby in tow! So, IF I get to leave without her, I constantly check the mirror to see if she is there! Sounds crazy, but I get so nervous. Then I get scared for a second thinking I forgot her at home, LOL. When she is in the car, I check the mirror often and I talk to her a lot. That way there is no room for me to forget she is there. She is old enough now that she rarely sleeps in the car, so I can actually talk to her to remind myself she is there.
The Perfectionist Mom: This has always been a fear of mine. I read how easily it can happen. You think “Oh no way!” Well the brain has a very specific way of working and good parents have had it happen to them. It is especially easy if you are tired, which no parent ever is right?!. You go into autopilot. You do not even think of how to get to work everyday you just end up there. All that it takes is your husband or wife putting a quiet baby in the car, asking you to drop them off, especially if that is not something you normally do. If the baby falls asleep and you have no reason to think they are in the car, why would you check. It is a tragic and true story. You could also be unloading the groceries or dealing with an older, louder sibling. You think I’ll be right back to get you and a thousand things distract you. Before you know it 20 minutes has passed. If it is 90 degrees outside, which in Florida it is often over that, it only takes 10 minutes for that car to get to over 109 degrees, imagine if you left your child in there for 20 minutes because they fell asleep in their seats! You cannot do that!
The Hot Mess Mom: I sometimes find it hard to put so much blame on the parents when these accidental deaths happen because it is so easy to get distracted and simply forget what is not familiar to you yet, however, on the other side when you have a baby they become your precious cargo in the car and you have to do whatever it takes to keep them safe. It’s time to stop putting on make-up while driving, re-schedule the conference call for when you are not transporting your child and may forget them in the back seat, turn the music down so that hearing your child becomes the most important thing to you. It’s understandable that the motion of getting in and out of a car with a baby is a habit that needs to be made, it doesn’t just come along with child birth. The point is that we as parents enable ourselves to take the extra precautions such as attaching a rattle or bell to your keys so that every time you take the keys out of the car and put them in your purse you hear a sound that reminds you to ensure you have your baby. No one said parenthood was easy but we made the decision to embark on that journey so lets not make the kids pay for our mistakes.
The Naturalist Mom: I am ALWAYS with my kids. So for me, it’s a no brainer to always check for them. It’s very rare I go ANYWHERE alone. When I do it is a luxury! However, I know that is not the case for everyone. I know that technology for vehicles has grown immensely since I was a kid- so much so that if you “forget” to put on your seat belt, about every 30 seconds a pesky little alarm goes on to remind you. Same with the passenger seat. There is a weighted mechanism in the seat that informs the car there is a heavy object, most likely a person, sitting there and “by the way, buckle up!” I think the same should apply to back seats. In this instance, the car would set off an alarm 1 minute after all the doors have shut and the car was off, with the weight/pressure on the back seat that would suggest there was a child left behind. I think another way we could improve on this problem would be to slow down. We rush so much, that something so precious (like children) could be left behind. Nothing in this world is worth the rush in comparison to my child’s health, wellbeing and life.
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