Being a young mom means we met a little early, but I get to love them longer.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Never EVER leave a child in a car!

This should be simple logic. I mean seriously... go out and sit in your car without the air conditioner. You'll be roasting in five minutes, so you'd think people would understand that their children cannot sit in a car like that! Apparently not. In the past couple of week I have watched the stories of five innocent little children who died (just in our area) because they were left in a hot car. One was 5 month old, two brothers were 5 and 3 years old, and then another set of siblings as well (I think they were 4 and 2 years old).
All together this year there have been 23 deaths because of children being left alone in cars. Just. don't. do. it.

I know, I know, your kids are asleep, and it seems like it would be much more simple to just run in the store real. You'll be in and out, and they'll be fine, right? Yeah, except how often does that ever happen? The store has moved what you need, then there's none on the shelf, then there's only 1 register out of 500 open, then the lady in front of your needs a price check on 35435745 items, then she uses 24246346 coupons. I swear this stuff happens every time I walk in the store. If I left my babies in the car for a "quick in and out," they'd be dead.

People don't seem to realize how quickly a car heats up, or just how hot it can get. Seriously, it can be 70 degrees outside... nice and cool, right? Well, it can reach temperatures of over 110 degrees inside your car! In just 10 minutes, the temperature in your car rises an average of 19 degrees higher than the temperature outside, and in an hour it rises an average of 43 degrees higher than what it is outside!

Here are the medical facts behind it...

  • Heatstroke occurs when a person's temperature exceeds 104 degrees F and their thermoregulatory mechanism is  overwhelmed
    -  Symptoms include :  dizziness, disorientation, agitation, confusion, sluggishness, seizure, hot dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty, loss of consciousness, rapid heart beat, hallucinations
  • A core body temperature of 107 degrees F is considered lethal as cells are damaged and internal organs shut down 
  • Children's thermoregulatory systems are not as efficient as an adult's and their body temperatures warm at a rate 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s.

Now, lets rewind for a minute... on one of those incredibly hot days when it was over 100 degrees outside a couple of weeks ago. Two little boys, just 5 and 3 years old, were left in the car by their mother. It is alleged that she left them there for over 45 minutes while she was inside cooking meth.  This happened just a few miles from where I live. Both of these little boys were rushed to a local hospital where they both passed away. I've been following this story since she called 911 and told them that her children drowned. It has since been proven that they died of hyperthermia via autopsy. If she was aware enough to make up a story to attempt to cover herself, she was aware enough that her children should not have been in that car!

Back to the present... I understand that a lot of these deaths are because of people forgetting their child was in the car. I know that sounds completely impossible. I can't imagine forgetting that I put my child in the car, but I don't suppose these parents ever imagined that they would either. Just the other day, a woman went to pick up her 5 month old baby from day care, and the day care told her she never dropped the baby off. She ran back to her van where she found the baby lifeless and still in it's car seat. She had dropped her older kids off at school, but forgot to drop her baby at day care, and left the baby in the car all day. Just typing that makes my heart ache. They would have to put me on suicide watch if I did something like that.

So, given that accidents like that do happen. Please take preventative measures.

  • Place your purse or cell phone back there next to baby's seat so that when you get out, you have to look back there. 
  • Get in the habit of checking all your car seats even if you are certain that your kids aren't in them. ^^^ She was certain that she had dropped her baby off at day care. Our brains can play tricks on us exhausted and overworked mommies. 
  • Keep a stuffed animal in the carseat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver.
  • And, have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for school.
Cracking the windows has little effect on the inside temperature of the car. The heat radiates off of your interior, and it will continue to do so even if the windows are cracked.

So, some parents carry an extra key and leave the car running. Sure, the babies won't die from hyperthermia, but a car unattended and running is just asking to be stolen WITH YOUR CHILDREN IN IT. It has happened many times. Even in people's driveways! When I was in high school, a girl's mom had turned their van on to warm it up, and it got stolen right out of their driveway. There were no kids in it, thank the Lord! But still, right out of their driveway. 

And if a child predator saw a child alone like that, you might as well just hand your child over to the pervert.

Not to mention that your child could possibly knock the vehicle out of park, causing the car to move, which has also happened many times, and can be very dangerous.

Bottom line: A car is not a babysitter or a playground. There are no circumstances where it is safe for your child (or children) to be in the car alone. Your child should only be in the car (safely buckled in a car seat) when you are to get from point A to point B.

If I ever see a child alone in a car, I WILL call the police.


1 comment:

  1. Reading that one part made my heart sink, I cannot imagine forgetting your child is there. It's so heartbreaking. :/