So I read a depressing article this morning on momlogic that chronicles the senseless deaths of 29 children who have died in from being in trapped in hot cars in the US alone. According to Janette Fennel, the founder and president of Kids and Cars, a national nonprofit group that advocates for child safety, roughly 36 infants and children die in these types of accidents annually.
While all of the listed incidents were sad, none were as shocking as an incident in Nevada where a 4 year-old, who had special needs, died when his family forgot him in a car after a family outing. He was left in the car for 17 hours. SEVENTEEN HOURS. The little boy had 7 siblings whom the family managed to remember. That is 9 people including the parents who forgot about a 4 year old for 17 hours. I just don’t get how that is possible. When it was time for dinner, nobody noticed he was missing. What about bedtime? Nobody noticed he wasn’t in bed. Call me suspicious, but how do 9 people completely forget about a 4 year old, a special needs 4 year old, which I imagine needed help getting out of the car, who probably needed some assistance during dinner and bedtime and nobody noticed he was gone! WOW!
I have a 3 year old and I can’t forget she’s around. She won’t let me even I tried. She talks from the moment she wakes up to the second she falls asleep. So when I don’t hear her voice a little radar goes off. Hmm what is Miss Bizzie up to now? Then there is my 8 month old, who calls out whenever I leave the room. I just can’t imagine forgetting they are supposed to be around for 17 hours.
Ironically most of the incidents were parents who simply forgot to drop off their child and daycare and accidentally left them in the car while they went to work, only to find their child in the car hours later.
It is really sad to hear about these tragic and completely preventable accidents. It’s easy to blame the parents for these incidents and just think they are horrible parents. How can a parent just FORGET they had a kid?
However Janette from Kids and Cars says these accidents have little to do with how good a parent is and everything to do with how our memory functions or doesn’t function. In many of the cases, forgotten children are under the age of 1 in rear-facing car seats. Their parents are not sleeping much, which comes into play. And often there has been a change in regular routine.
Kids and Cars is working hard to pass legislation that would require lawmakers to install weight-recognition sensors in cars that would alert parents who’ve left their kids in the back seat. Hopefully it passes soon. I would hate to see another life taken but such an avoidable accident.