Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Tragedy of Vehicular Heat Stroke

Within one week, 3 children have died of vehicular heat stroke here in middle Tennessee. The last one was just miles from my home.

My heart goes out to these families. Especially the one close to home.

The most common questions I have seen and heard are, "how could this ever happen?" or "how can you forget a baby in a car?"

To those questions, I pose this question. Have you ever driven down the rode and realized you have no recollection of driving to the point you are at?

I heard a doctor on the news commenting that our brains have autopilot and we just do some things without ever thinking of them. When something new comes into play, such as a new stop sign on a road we have traveled a million times, we don't stop, because it isn't in our autopilot. So accidents happen.

When a busy parent or caregiver is going through their routines, something like an extra stop can be missed.

I only have one child and sometimes I can barely keep up. This latest mom had four. One that was still waking up in the middle of the night. And she was working from home.

I remember seeing an episode of Oprah about this topic. A mom, who this tragedy had happened to, recommend that parents put something in the front seat of their car when a child is in the back so that they always have a visual reminder that the child is still in the car.

I have held on to that advice and when it is just my daughter and I in the car, I put her diaper bag in the front seat. It is a small thing that can have life altering consequences.

My daughter's Mother's Day Out is now starting a new policy where they call us if our child has not arrived by 9:30 and are scheduled for that day. I have been thinking of other cues busy parents can give themselves.

Here are a few of them:

-Set an alarm on your phone for 10 minutes after you should have dropped the child off.
-Keep their diaper bag or toy in the front seat while they are in the carseat.
-Hang something on your mirror just for when the child is in the car. (Remember: it can't stay there all the time or your brain will eventually miss it.)
-Tie a small ribbon on the top of the steering wheel.
-Have a parent friend that agrees that you both call each other after drop offs.
-Set an alarm clock in your house or office for 10 minutes after you should arrive back from dropping that child off.

What other ideas for cues do you have?


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