One of the most sad and worst case scenarios happened on Wednesday in Georgia when a parent driving to work forgot to drop off his 22 month old son at daycare leaving his son strapped in the car seat in an SUV all day on a day where temperatures were in the low 90’s, and the child died as a result of the father’s actions.
The father realized the terrible fate only after he left work and was driving home. Once he discovered the fatal error, he pulled into a parking lot where paramedics were not successful in reviving the child. WSB TV reported that late that afternoon the child’s distraught father was taken away in handcuffs by authorities. As of this date, the Father has been charged with the murder of his son in this incident.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that this has happened. This happened again Monday only this time in Florida, when a 9-month-old baby died after his father apparently forgot him in his pickup truck for hours with outside temperatures hovering around 90 degrees. Last year, two babies died on the same day under similar circumstances in Maryland and Virginia. Furthermore, according to KidsandCars.org babies dying in hot cars happens about 38 times per year across the United States.
The report comes in similar to this: A parent is going to work with the child in the backseat, the parent forgets about the child, the child is left in the hot car, and the outcome is tragic, and predictable. Such deaths continue to occur with disturbing frequency and are happening to parents from all walks of life.
In 2009, Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning story attempting to answer how parents can forget their own children in cars. “What kind of person forgets a baby?,” Weingarten asked. “The wealthy do, it turns out. And the poor, and the middle class. Parents of all ages and ethnicities do it. Mothers are just as likely to do it as fathers. It happens to the chronically absent-minded and to the fanatically organized, to the college-educated and to the marginally literate. In the last 10 years, it has happened to a dentist. A postal clerk. A social worker. A police officer. … A Protestant clergyman. … An assistant principal. It happened to a mental health counselor, a college professor and a pizza chef. It happened to a pediatrician. It happened to a rocket scientist.”
When outside temperatures are in the 60s, the temperature inside a parked car can rise to more than 110 degrees, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA reports that temperatures can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes inside a car, children’s bodies do not regulate heat as well as adults and, “In fact, when left in a hot vehicle, a young child’s body temperature may increase three to five times as fast an adult. High body temperatures can cause permanent injury or even death.”
Fortunately, there are ways How Not to Forget: Reminders and Tips that may help from KidsandCars.org:
- Instead of putting your purse, briefcase or whatever you must take out of the car with you in the front seat, put itnext to the child.
- Put a mirror in the backseat so you can see children easily who are still small enough to be in rear-facing child seats.
- “Look Before You Lock” by making it a habit of opening the back door and looking inside every single time you get out of your car, even if you think you’re sure you don’t have a child with you.
- Put a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat when it’s not occupied, and move the stuffed animal to the front seat when the child is in the car seat. The stuffed animal will serve as a visual reminder in the front seat with you.
- Make arrangements so that your child’s daycare center or babysitter calls you if your child does not show up as scheduled.
This is my tip: Slow down! If your life is that busy that you forget your child in the car, then it is time to slow down! Nothing is that important that you should forget your child in the car.
There are also Technology Solutions: At least two manufacturers (Suddenly Safe ‘N’ Secure Systems, Inc. and Baby Alert International make “car seat alarms” that are designed to remind parents when they turn off the car that their child is in the car seat. However, no technology solution is absolutely infallible and any efforts to remind parents about the presence of a child in the car should be combined with some of the reminders and tips above.
At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates we are committed to Child Safety and if you or a loved one have been injured or killed in any way, then please Contact Us for your free legal consultation. We are here to assist you, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!