Oh, those errands can be taxing, especially on parents or caregivers of young children. The temptation to leave the children in the car for juuust a minute (or two) is very strong. “I’ll just run inside to get a carton of milk or eggs” can be a common excuse to leave one or more young children inside a car.
There are those who feel that no responsible parent would ever do such a thing. There are others who’d understandably so, go ahead with this justification. What can happen already, right?
So what’s the right thing to do? Is there a right or a wrong? Is it dangerous or illegal? What if I crack the window so that fresh air comes in?
Some stats & a video on this issue:
- Since 1998 over 600 children left in cars have died from heatstroke.
- The inside of a car can reach 109° in the matter of 15 minutes during the hot summer.
- At 104° the internal organs of a child begin shutting down.
- The child’s body cannot regulate as well as an adult’s can.
- Even with a window cracked the heat is still intense & rising inside the car.
It’s clear from these stats that not only is it dangerous but can be fatal to a child.
Now what about a simple change in schedule where today Mom will take the kids to school instead of a carpool or Dad will take the child to daycare on his way to work when normally he has a different routine? Could you entertain the possibility that a responsible parent would forget—not choose to leave—a child in the car because of the change in routine?
According to USF Neurologist Dr. David Diamond, there is science to this situation. The brain habit system is so powerful that it can actually suppress or override the working memory of the brain from reminding the parent that there is a child in the backseat. This can be caused by sleep deprivation, stress, changes in routine, & emotion.
So which parent can actually forget their child in a hot car? Answer: ANY parent. From the most professional, to the most loving. From the most responsible, to the highly intelligent. This can happen to ANYONE. It can be a dangerous lack of knowledge of what actually occurs in the hot car that causes the parent to purposefully leave the child just for a minute or two. It can also be the change of routine which can be at the root of forgetting the child. In each scenario, the parent is simply unaware of the dangers or what potentially can happen with a simple change in schedule.
There are numerous ideas & gadgets that have been developed to help prevent such situations from occurring. These include but are not limited to:
- Take one of your shoes off & leave it in the back seat. (you won’t go anywhere with just one shoe, right?)
- Leave some of child’s belongings next to you in the front seat.
- Don’t leave the car seat behind the driver. It’s easier to remember if easier to see.
- Look Before You Lock
- The ChildMinder SoftClip System by Baby Alert Int’l & car seat sensors that can tell if the baby is still in the car seat after the car has been turned off.
- Recently, we at Kars4Kids developed, a free app for Android users to help prevent this from happening. This app is simple with one When disconnected from your car’s Bluetooth, an alarm sounds. Easy customization; an app to help prevent the tragic from happening to you or your friends, EVER.
Let “Children Left in Cars” be an issue of the past.
We feel that if even but one child’s life is saved, all our effort will have been worthwhile.