Sadly, it happens every year. Every. Single. Year. Children are left in hot cars and they die of hyperthermia, heat stroke (Watch That Summer Heat). Last year, I wrote about the senseless deaths by drowning (Drowning Isn't Noisy). It looks like heat stroke is this year's topic.
This week, a 2-year-old boy died after being left for a "significant number of hours" in a hot car. I don't know the whole story. I don't know who forgot or how that happened, but it has happened before and it has happened too many times. Sometimes, the children are deliberately left in the car ("I'll be back in a few minutes," which turns into much longer), sometimes the children get into the car without anyone knowing, but often, the deaths occur when the child is forgotten. How does that happen?
I heard on the radio today a host asking for ideas on how this can be prevented. One woman called in and said there should be an alarm that buzzes if someone gets out of the front of the car, but not the back. I guess she figured it could be a weight-triggered alarm like the ones in the front seat that tell you that you've not put on your seatbelt yet. But do we really have to start adding more technology to our lives? And what if we depend on it and the alarm doesn't sound? Then is the child's death the manufacturer's fault for not reminding the parents?
A friend of mine had five children. She laughs when she tells the story of the time when her husband took the a few of the children out for a bike ride - and forgot the baby in his crib. She said, "oh, he was busy, he didn't think about it." I didn't think it was funny. I was horrified. If you're the parent-in-charge, how do you forget a child? I'm not talking about having two adults around and each thinks the other has a child - this is one parent who was responsible for the child.
We have so much going on in our lives, but we need to take responsibility for things too. My children outnumbered us, there were three of them and only two of us. And we were as busy as most people with similar lives. And I was a far from perfect mother and I know I'll be a far from perfect grandmother when the time comes. But I wonder, in what circumstances could I have forgotten a child in the car. And if I did, would I not notice it quickly? "Hey, where's _____?"
What do you think?