An Important Reminder About Leaving Your Child in the Car

This is not a feel good post.  It doesn’t have a fun printable or a catchy title.  It was not fun to write, and it probably won’t be fun to read.  If you read the entire thing and watch the PSA, I can pretty much guarantee that you will cry, feel sick, and continue to think about it long after you click away.

It is also one of the most important reminders that every parent or caretaker should read, especially this time of year living in Houston.

I don’t have all of the answers or solutions to this topic.  This isn’t that kind of post.  This is also a 100% judgment free zone.  This post is all about creating awareness and reminding ourselves about the dangers of leaving your child {or anyone, animals included} in your car – whether from forgetting they are there to thinking it will be okay just for a few minutes.

Leaving Your Child in the Car

Is it just me, or are we hearing more and more of these stories in the news lately? I guess a lot of it has to do with the hot season.  A father leaving his son in the car while he was at work {whether or not it was on purpose is not the point}, a car being stolen with an eight month old in the backseat, a nanny leaving two young kids locked in her car with the windows rolled up while she went tanning.  These are all real headlines pulled from the past few weeks.  Some with happy endings.  Others with the worst possible ending you never want to imagine.

I urge you to watch the PSA below from 2013 about leaving your child in a hot car and vehicular heat stroke.  I warn you that it is hard to watch emotionally as a mom.  It’s just a reenactment, so no one was harmed.  There are many other related videos on YouTube you can follow this one up with, although one was more than powerful enough for me.

I watched this piece for the first time when I was 3 months postpartum and pretty much lost it.  {Thank you to Bassett Baby Planning for posting it on their Facebook page last summer.}  The good news is that it scarred me enough that I think about it often, especially when driving around with my little man or out and about on a hot day remaining observant about my surroundings.

Like I said, I don’t have any or all of the answers.  My only few pieces of advice are to ask for help as a parent if you are feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, or out of your head – asking for an assist when you aren’t at your best could save you or your child’s life.

Other tips that have been mentioned before on not forgetting that your child is in the backseat, include putting something in the backseat that you are guaranteed not to forget like your cell phone, purse, or one of your shoes.  Stepping out of the car missing a shoe will hopefully trigger something in you!  Join this great Facebook page that is encouraging the “left shoe movement.”  It’s easy to pass judgment and say that you would never forget your child, but it happens all the time. So instead of judging – let’s think of helpful ways to avoid this problem altogether.

Roula from 104 KRBE’s morning show mentioned during a discussion on this topic that she tries not to run certain types of errands where you may be tempted to leave your child in the car – even for a minute.  Her example was getting gas.  There might be too many temptations or reasons to turn your back or walk away for a minute.  It’s easier to leave that task for when you are alone or have another adult with you.  Overkill?  Maybe, but I think it’s great to at least have these conversations on the topic to get our wheels turning.  Besides the gas station, I also try to leave my dry cleaning for when I’m alone – usually on my way to or from the office.  It literally takes me under 3 minutes to run in and get my things.  Way too quick for all of the work that is involved with un-buckling my little guy, pulling him out, and then doing the loading process all over again.  I would never leave him while the car was off.  Is it tempting to leave him in the car with the engine running?  I mean, I can see him and I’m only a few feet away.  The answer is NO!  Anyone could be watching and jump into the car with your most precious belonging!  You get the idea.

Finally, I urge everyone to be aware of your surroundings and call the police if you notice any human or animal inside a car in this heat.  Don’t assume someone else will take care of it!

After writing this post, reading it, or watching the video below, let’s all go home and squeeze our loved ones extra tight.

Feel free to continue this conversation by leaving a comment below or visiting us on Facebook.  We’d love to hear from you!

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3 Responses to An Important Reminder About Leaving Your Child in the Car

  1. Brittany W. July 9, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    I recently saw the shoe trick on Facebook and I’m definitely going to start doing it. Watching the news about that man who left his child in the back seat of his car (seemingly on purpose) makes me so sick to my stomach.

  2. Jayhawk_Mom July 14, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    As a soon to be first-time mom, a bolt of fear strikes my gut every time I read about a parent who forgot their child in the backseat, and I vow to never think I’m too good of a parent to think I wouldn’t make a mistake like this. I will definitely be leaving my purse in the backseat or trying the left shoe trick!

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