It seems like every summer we hear the tragic story about some poor child left alone in a hot car by a clueless or negligent parent. This happened 30 times in the U.S. last year. Kara Seymour says it could happen to anyone of us:
For every case of a parent who is impaired with a child in the car or who leaves a baby in a vehicle with the window open just a bit, there are executive dads and busy moms who simply forget that their child is in the back seat during a hectic day.
Common factors in the cases are stress, parents functioning on too little sleep or a change in daily routine, say experts.
Seymour provides some tips to help parents avoid leaving children in hot cars.
- Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.
- Put your purse, briefcase, cell phone or lunch in the backseat so you are sure to look before you lock the door.
- Make it a habit to always open the back door of your vehicle every time you park to make sure no child has been left behind.
- Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat when it’s empty; move the toy to the front seat when a child is riding in the car seat as a visual reminder that a child is on board.
- Place your child’s car seat in the middle of the backseat rather than behind the driver. It’s easier to see the child.
- Arrange with your day-care center or babysitter that you will always call if your child will not be there as scheduled.
- Lock your vehicles at all times — even in the garage or driveway – so youngsters can’t climb in without your knowledge.
- Keep keys and remote openers out of the reach of children.
- Check vehicles and car trunks first when a child is missing.
- Take action if you see a child alone in a vehicle. Call 911 immediately.
- Discuss the issue of hot-car safety with everyone who drives your child, including partners, grandparents, and babysitters.
- Use drive-through services when available at restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc. to remain in the vehicle with your child.
- Use your debit or credit card to pay for gas at the pump.