Originally Published: May 30, 2014 11:03 p.m.
Okay, I admit it. I have left my baby in the car by accident. It was Thanksgiving Day and I was meeting my whole family at a restaurant. My mother got out of the car with my 3-year-old and I was supposed to meet them with my then 1-month-old baby, who had fallen asleep in her car seat. I had to park a ways away and by the time I got into the parking spot, I had totally forgotten about my littlest in the back and walked all of the way to the front doors before I realized I had left her in the car.
I was tired. Thankfully, it wasn't too cold. And in the end it was only 5-minutes that she was in the car by herself. She was still sleeping contentedly when I got back to the car. It could have been much, much worse.
I recently read a magazine article about parents who had made this same mistake in the summer time and unfortunately, had taken much too long to remember the little one in the back seat. The stories in the article broke my heart and woke me up a bit because I could see myself making this same mistake very easily.
According to the article, it is when we have a change in routine that these sorts of devastating mistakes can happen. It could happen, especially when we are tired and stressed and very, very busy (which pretty much describes my life currently). Hopefully it now will not happen to any of us.
From putting your cell phone and purse on the floor of the backseat to high tech gadgets, there are a variety of ways in the article How to Avoid a Hot-Car Tragedy to keep your children safe:
Put your cell phone, purse, or briefcase, on the floor of the backseat.
Make a habit of always opening the back door of your car after you park.
Keep a teddy bear in the car seat when it's empty, and move the bear to the front passenger seat when the car seat is occupied by baby.
Ask your childcare provider to phone you promptly if your child isn't dropped off as scheduled.
Never assume someone else -- a spouse, an older child -- has taken a young kid out of her seat.
High Tech Gadgets: The Cars-N-Kids monitor plays a lullabye when the car stops and a child is in the seat ($29.95; carsnkids.com). The ChildMinder System sounds an alarm if you walk away and leave your child in the seat ($69.95; babyalert.info).
Visual cues: Static-cling decals reminding you to check the car seat are available at Emmasinspirations.com and Kidsandcars.org.
Kathryn Sage, NMD is a naturopathic doctor, mother of two, and blog contributor at Prescott Moms Blog. She moved to Prescott from Portland, OR, four years ago when she and her husband decided that Prescott was the perfect place to raise a family. At her practice, she treats infants through seniors for most acute and chronic conditions, and uses nutrition and lifestyle as her main tools.