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Everyone says it will never happen to them. Make sure that's true with these tips that wil help ensure you never forget your child in the car.
One of my greatest fears is forgetting Lily in the car. I know I'm a good parent. I know that I think about her more often than I think about myself. I know that her safety is one of, if not my only, top priority in life pretty much every single day.
But I also know that I'm human.
And humans are notorious for making mistakes. Especially when they're out of their routine and in a hurry or otherwise preoccupied. Considering most cases that involve kids being left in a car are by mistake and 75% are under the age of two, this mistake can be deadly.
But when we travel, this is exactly how I feel sometimes. Preoccupied and in a hurry. While I'm enjoying our trip and looking forward to whatever we're experiencing, I'm also struggling with the lack of routine. That struggle brings forgetfulness and a little less clarity.
Luckily, I've never struggled so much that I forgot her in the car. Not even close. But… I know it could still happen. And that thought is terrifying to me because even when the temperature is just 70F, the inside of a car can heat up to 120F in just 15 minutes – even with the windows open.
Crazy, right? What's even scarier is that a child's body can heat up 3-5x faster than an adult. The good news is that heatstroke deaths are avoidable, even when your routine is thrown off.
The simple answer is to simply avoid leaving your child alone in a car, even for a minute. But how do you ensure you do this, even when life is hectic and crazy and your mind is going a million miles a minute?
There are dozens of reminders you can create to ensure that your child is never left alone in the car. I'll give a few suggestions, but the key here is to think about what you always do before you leave the vehicle.
- Do you always grab your purse before you leave the vehicle? Then set it in the back by the baby's seat.
- Do you always grab your cell phone before you leave? Tuck it in the baby's diaper bag and leave it in the backseat.
Don't do anything other than grab your keys and go? There are still plenty of options to help keep your kids safe.
- Use a post-it note on your dash or even on your steering wheel that reminds you not to forget your little one.
- Set a stuffed animal in your passenger seat or middle console so you have a constant reminder of them.
- Leave one of your shoes by the baby's seat so you have to retrieve it before you exit your vehicle.
- Place their car seat in the middle of the backseat so it's easier to see them in the mirror or when you turn around.
- Look in your car before you lock it. I got in a habit of this for valuables long before we had our daughter and considering she's even more valuable than anything else that I might leave back there, it stuck.
- Set up a system with whoever is expecting your little one (daycare, babysitter, etc). If you're a no show, have them call you to check in.
And please share these reminders with anyone else who transports your child. Your parents, your babysitter, your spouse, your friends, your neighbor, your family, etc. Teach them these things. Show them these reminders.
Because checking for your baby is part of your routine – not theirs. It's not engrained in their mind to check for your precious cargo like it is yours.
Learn more by visiting Auto Alliance and seeing more about how you can ACT to save lives:
- A-Avoid: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.
- C-Create Reminders: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
- T-Take Action: If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.