The death of Cooper Harris in a hot car was allegedly a murder, but every year, dozens of loving parents--who were hard at work and not sexting pictures of their genitals to underage girls--kill their children by forgetting them in the car. In nearly all cases, these are tragic accidents, the result of human fallibility. It is easier to forget children in the car than it formally was because the law requiring young children to be secured in the back seat has put them out of their parent's field of vision. If the child is out of sight, asleep in the car, and if the parent's routine is changed or he is sleep-deprived, the chances of forgetting the child increase.
This blogger has read several suggestions to help prevent this tragedy and is passing them on:
- Take off your left shoe and put it in the back seat with the baby. You may forget your keys (Who hasn't locked his keys in the car at least once?), your cell phone, or your purse, especially if you have been up all night with a crying baby, but you will almost certainly notice that you aren't wearing a shoe.
- When you drop your baby off, take a picture of the child at daycare and text it to your spouse or partner. If your partner doesn't receive a text, he should contact you immediately. If you are a single parent, team up with another parent to exchange daily pictures. Leave multiple contact numbers in case you forget your cell phone.
- Request that your daycare center contact you if the child is not dropped off when he should be.
- Talk to your child as you drive as a way of reminding you that he is there.
- Place a bulky item in the car seat. When the child is in the seat, place that bulky item in the passenger seat next to you. When you drop the child off, put that item back in the car seat. See the embedded video for a program to promote this strategy.
- Kars4Kids, a charitable organization, has released a free app that syncs with the car's Bluetooth technology. When the cell phone is disconnected from Bluetooth, a warning tone sounds, reminding you to check the car seat.