Even the most attentive and caring parents make mistakes- including accidentally leaving or locking a child in a car. Sometimes, children climb into unlocked, parked cars in the driveway without parents realizing they have done so. Regardless of how it happens, children left in hot vehicles in the car are in grave danger within a matter of minutes.
Here are some tips for making double & triple sure that your child is safe and cool this summer:
- No exceptions: No matter how brief your errand or how quick your stop, NEVER leave a child in the car. Under any circumstances, even with the windows cracked or completely rolled down. There is no safe amount of time to leave a child in the car.
- Get involved if you are a bystander: If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately. If they are in distress due to heat, the National Highway Safety Administration recommends getting them out as soon as possible.
- Remind Yourself: Tell yourself out loud to remember the child; give yourself visual cues; place your purse or briefcase in back by the child- so when you go to get it when exiting the car, you are reminded; place the diaper bag in the seat next to you where you can see it; place a stuffed animal in your child’s car seat- move it the front seat next to you when the child is in the car. Oftentimes, child car seats are behind the parent’s seat, out of sight. If you are changing up routine (for example, if Parent 1 usually drives the child in the morning, but today Parent 2 is doing so), it is easy to forget. New parents have a lot on their minds. Remind, remind, remind.
- Prevent kids from wandering into the car: Don’t let children play in your car, lock your car doors and trunk, and keep keys out of any child’s reach. That way, you minimize the risk that they climb into your car without you knowing they have done so.
- Make it routine: Make it a habit to physically open the back car door and check for anyone left behind every single time you get out of the car.
- Have back up: Make arrangements with your child’s day care center or babysitter that you will always call if your child will not be there on a particular day as scheduled. That way if you forget and they are absent, they will alert you.