From around the world

Every parent thinks they’d never forget their child in the car. But ‘never’ still happens.

I never thought it was possible for me to forget my child in the car—until the day I did.

I was a super conscientious mom, reading all the parenting books, cautious about health and safety, 100% committed to my children’s well-being. I held my babies close, figuratively and literally, wearing them in slings and wraps much of the time and taking them everywhere. They were like physical extensions of me–how could I possibly forget them?

Here’s how. My oldest was nearly 4 years old when I had my second child. One day, when the baby was a few weeks old, our family was out running errands. Everyone was hungry, but I needed to grab something from Michaels craft store, so I dropped my husband and 4-year-old at home first to start dinner. The baby was sleeping in her car seat and I decided to take her with me in case she woke up and needed to breastfeed.

Somewhere between our driveway and Michaels, I completely blanked that I had a baby in the car.

I hadn’t been in a car with a child for several years without any sound—my oldest was always talking or singing or something. It was never quiet in the car unless I was alone, so my sleep-deprived brain interpreted the silence of my sleeping baby in the car as me being alone.

I got to the Michaels’ parking lot, got out of the car, locked the door and went inside. I grabbed a shopping cart and headed to the back of the store to pick up whatever I needed. When I flipped down the plastic seat on the cart where you put a kid, it triggered the awareness that I didn’t have a child with me and everything stopped. Even 19 years later, I can perfectly picture the moment it dawned on me what I’d done when the world went into slow-motion as I ran through the store and out to my car.

There she was, blissfully snoozing away in her car seat, totally unaware of my panic. It was a cool evening and she was only in there for 5 minutes, tops, but it was an eye-opening and humbling moment. If a brain blip like that could happen to me, it could happen to anyone.

That’s the idea behind a new heatstroke prevention PSA from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Ad Council called “Never Happens.” The message is powerful, as there are so many things we swear we would never do as parents that we end up doing. Some of those things are conscious choices as we realize parenting is far more complex than we thought, but some are a result of being fallible humans with imperfect human brains. The key is recognizing that fact so you don’t fall into the trap of “I would never.”

Watch:

Pediatric vehicular heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related fatalities for children 14 and younger. No parent thinks they could possibly forget their child in a car, but that’s how more than half of car heatstroke deaths in children occur. According to the NHTSA, heatstroke statistics can be split into three main scenarios:

– 52.7% of hot car deaths happened because a child was forgotten in a hot car

– 25.8% of deaths happened because a child gained access to an unlocked car and became trapped

– 20.1% of deaths happened because a child was left behind in a vehicle, and the parent/caregiver did not realize how quickly internal car temperatures can rise.

A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s, so we can’t use ourselves as a gauge of how long is too long to be in an enclosed car.

The inside of a vehicle is never a safe place for a child to play or be left alone, because hot cars can be deadly for children in a matter of minutes,” Sophie Shulman, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator, tells Upworthy. “No one wants to think they could forget their child, but the facts show it can happen to anyone. Our ‘Stop. Look. Lock.’ campaign educates and empowers parents and caregivers to make simple changes to prevent unimaginable tragedies.”

Some of those simple changes might include putting your purse or wallet in the back seat, keeping an item like a teddy bear in the backseat and placing it in the front seat whenever you have a child in the car with you. Both of those simple visual cues could be life-saving. And always lock your vehicle after getting everyone out of it so a child can’t get in.

Never think it could never happen. Then, take proactive steps to ensure that it never does.

Source: Upworthy
Link: Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *