Check the Back Seat!

I’m not a parent, so I don’t get it: how do you forget your kid is in the car? Our local news paper reports that child deaths in hot cars are on the rise.  In that article, they interview the Kids and Cars founder ( who knew there was such a thing?). She had this to say:

“The worst thing any parent or caregiver can do is think that this could never happen to them, that they are not capable of inadvertently leaving their child behind. This can and does happen to the most loving, responsible and attentive parents.”

She then provides tips for how you can avoid accidentally leaving your kids in the car while you go to work:

  1. “Put something in the back seat, so you have to open the back door to get it.” (Surprise! Your kid is still in there, too. You forgot to drop him at day care!)
  2. Put a stuffed animal in the child seat when it’s not in use and move it to the front seat when your child is in the car. It will serve as a reminder that the child seat is in use.”

I can see how both of these options might help you remember there’s a tiny human in the backseat of your car.  And I know parents are busy and get frazzled and, thus, forget things.  But things and kids are different. I guess babies fall asleep in the car, so since they’re not making any noise you could forget them. But I don’t know. I check my backseat before I get out of the car at work just to make sure I didn’t forget an umbrella or a bag or something (I have accidentally taken my gym bag in to work because I did that). I feel like I’d be even more paranoid if it could potentially be a child (of course, I’m super paranoid anyway–I check to make sure the car is locked at least 3 times before walking away from it–and to do that, I have to look back through the window at least once). But I don’t know–like I said, I don’t have a kid (so I’m not judging–just saying I do not understand it).

If you do, check your backseat! Because I also cannot imagine what it would be like to be responsible–accident though it may be–for your own child’s death. I’m not sure how one might get over that–ever.


Filed under Ripped from the Headlines

4 responses to “Check the Back Seat!

  1. Robin Kyle

    As a parent of two grown children, I do not understand how anyone could ever forget that their child is in the backseat. Ever. I do not know about the rest of the world, but I periodically glance at my rear view mirror, and I have a perfect view of my backseat, hence that view would include the large car seat if there was one. I am not condemning all those parents, but, really, my kids are twenty-one months apart and I never, ever, even thought of leaving them in the car while I ran in somewhere. Ever. Because it is not a responsible behavior. And trust me, I was frazzled and I did not forget that they were in the backseat, especially when I was the one who belted them into their carseat. And frankly, I don”t understand any parent who would ever leave their child, their small version of their flesh and blood, in a car, for any reason. Ever. If you do not intend to take them in with you, do not go.

  2. Glad I’m not alone! I’ve just tried to imagine a situation in which this might happen to me, but I cannot.

  3. Even when I had four infants under 21 months old in my car during one stressful time in foster care, I never forgot they were there. One was always at risk of spitting up (monster amounts), two were screamers (drug babies), and one was a saint. Lord knows I never forgot about the quiet good one either, because she was the reward for the trip…one great, easy-going one. Even when I had to make multiple trips back and forth to unload each kid…I always left the door open (cracking the window didn’t seem enough) in between trips so they had plenty of air flow. I can’t fathom just forgetting they are there…

  4. I read something about this and apparently there are a number of factors that contribute to parents leaving their children in the car including high stress and a lack of sleep. I met a family once and Dad left son in the car sometime after Hurricane Katrina–daycare was in the same building as his work and he just walked into the building. I can’t imagine how a person lives with themselves after that. And I don’t mean that as a judgement–just as fact. I’d be unable to go on with my life if I did that.


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