How do parents adjust after leaving a child in a hot car?

According to that WP article - most people assume its impossible this will happen to them. People are busy and habits like these are likely to be skipped when they become inconvenient.

Makes sense though. I do some things like that - like always using my key to lock the door to my house - that way it’s impossible to lock myself out. But that’s about the extent I will go to - things more inconvenient than that I generally won’t do…

Yeah that makes sense. It would be pretty hard to miss the teddy bear.

However, you would have to be extremely disciplined with this or I fear it might backfire. If you conditioned your mind to see the teddy bear and forgot it, it could actually have caused the accident in the first place.

I’ve wondered how old a kid has to be before they get out of the car on their own?

I can remember even at five or six getting too hot and going into the front of the store. Didn’t take long to cool down in the air conditioned store. Mom never got upset because she knew I’d only do it if the car was too much for me.

Babies are the most vulnerable and it rips me up to think of them forgotten in a hot car.

There’s an age distribution here. 87% of children who died in hot cars were 3 or younger.

even here on the dope, i remember a few vocal dopers claiming that it would never happen to them, that they could never forget their own baby.

my suggestion would be a proximity alarm between the baby seat and a key chain. it arms itself when the baby seat is belted in and triggers when you wander a certain distance away while baby is still belted in.

But it would only be there when the kid’s in the back. Even if you happen to look at it while you’re driving, it would always reinforce the message. And you would also notice its absence when the kid’s not with you. The assumption, of course, is that you always follow the protocol.

Allow me to don my flameproof suit and say that I personally believe that a huge percentage of those are not accidents. :dubious:



That’s the catch.

Wow what a powerful article. Thank you for sharing. It was extremely difficult to read. I am not a parent yet but I am looking forward to the day I get to adopt my first child and this was just such a powerful piece of journalism.

nearwildhaven, you should read the article in full if you haven’t. There are a few sentences in there about people like you who separate themselves from these sorts of “monsters.” It’s a natural human thing to do.

I’m not a parent. If I ever become one, I’m going to have a daily Outlook reminder that goes off an hour after I start work (or whatever an acceptable interval is…maybe less), where the computer tells me to take 5 minutes and go look in the back seat of the car…whether I expect a child to be there or not.

Or maybe my morning routine involves a stop at Starbucks for a pastry…and the rule is that the pastry bag has to go in the (empty) carseat. Of course, the one day I don’t make it to Starbucks…

I guess my real point is that this is the most horrifying thing, and we would all do whatever mental cartwheels are necessary to avoid it.

Much less on a hot day.

I know people who always put their backpack, bag, jacket or equivalent in the back seat specifically so they’ll always have to get it before leaving the car.

Can I just say that this is a really excellent idea.

How are these not actually in production?

Gah… sorry. This was meant to be in reply to post #25.

There’s not a big market for that type of device. It’s something that other, bad parents need.

ETA: From the article linked in post #2:

Ugh I posted and then the SDMB crashed as it as been doing lately. :mad: Bloody hamsters.

When I was looking for a source for the other thread I came across a news item about two children rescued from a hot car. They were 7 and 8 years old, and they had been afraid to get out because their mother had told them to stay.

I think the plans to prevent this from happening are good ideas, but the problem is still that on that day, it just happened to be the day that all those mechanisms failed because things were different. That’s what I got from the article: what they said about the holes in the cheese all lining up.

I once left my dog in the car, for all of ten minutes on a cold day. Everything was just a little different that day. We weren’t coming back from a walk, we were coming back from town. I wasn’t wearing wellies. She wasn’t sitting up helping me drive, she was asleep in the back. Her lead wasn’t in my lap as I drove. My mind was on something else. So all the holes in the cheese lined up. It makes me wonder how often it happens that parents remember just in time. It’s probably quite a taboo thing to admit.

On a lighter note, my mum once forgot my little sister’s imaginary friend in the car, and had to walk back through the rain to get him out. He was fine. Apparently.

In a quarter century of taking care of assorted tragedies that end up in the Emergency Department, I’ve seen my share of events where the injury or death results to a different individual from the one who precipitated the event. I am reluctant to say, “The one who is at fault.”

The sort of case you describe here, along with similar events such as killing a baby by running it over with a vehicle, are caused by “just regular people who messed up beyond belief” in my opinion. They are caused by just regular people who did exactly what the rest of us do every day: become distracted; forget something; make an error. In a tiny percentage of those sorts of events, a tragedy results. But the idea that it happens just to people who “mess up” is neither accurate nor fair, in my view. We all mess up, every day, and the difference between me and the parent who kills their child is luck.

I am struck by the stupidity of our legal system. More precisely, perhaps, by the stupidity of prosecutors who do not distinguish between a negligent mother who chooses to be careless and a human being who is fallible and whose error is no different in degree than the same errors all of us make every day.

Two other comments.

First, I do not believe there is “no market” for safety devices to prevent leaving a kid in a car seat because of a perception it would only happen to someone else. There seems to be no upper end to devices which promote safety. I suspect the reason is pure liability. Perhaps my cynicism about our tort system is showing.

Second, there is no question in my mind that the backward car seat contributes mightily to this particular problem. I’d be interested seeing an analysis of net lives saved by having the car seat face backward, given this unintended consequence.

How the fuck do you forget that you left a kid in the car? Seriously, no excuse. None.

My kids are in their 20’s, I’ll happily confess the I left them in the car when they were little, deliberately, while I ducked into a shop to pay for petrol or grab milk or bread. 2 minutes in and out every time. If it was going to be longer than that, I took them.

Shit, I spent my cousins 21st sitting in the car in the car park on my own outside the club because their licensing laws were over 18 only and my parents couldn’t get a babysitter. I had a torch, a stack of comics, and Dad came out every hour or so to bring me a bag of chips, a drink or just to check. Mind you, that was the 70’s and it was night and I was about 8 years old.

Stop making excuses for stupidity people, if you leave a kid in a car on a hot day while you float off for an hour or so, you’re a murderer.

There are only about 20 deaths per year (yeah, I don’t mean “only”, I mean… it’s not a leading cause of death). I imagine there are far more car accidents. So on balance it’s probably better to have the child facing back.

You should really read the linked article. Really. I mean, really. It is not stupidity. It is a horrendous tragedy.

Please go read the article, which you obviously haven’t.

Yeah, and if you got overheated you could unlock the door and let yourself out, right? We’re not talking about mobile and able-bodied 8 year olds, we’re talking about infants strapped into car seats. Again, you clearly didn’t bother to find out what the actual topic is.

Please, please make an effort to correct your ignorance before shooting off your mouth.