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16 June 2009 @ 08:37 am
There But For The Grace...  
Mom recalls death of baby she left in car.

Nationwide, about thirty six children a year die when they are left in a car and their bodies are overheated as a result. In some of these cases, the switch to a rear-facing infant seat in the back seat of the car makes it all too easy for tired, over-stressed parents to forget the child is with them that day, waiting to be dropped off at day care. Several weeks ago I left my purse in the car overnight, something I had never done before. Considering my concerns about identity theft that was a stupid thing to do. I can imagine myself doing the unthinkable and forgetting to drop a baby at daycare if it wasn't normally my day, if my routine was disrupted in some way, or if I had a migraine that kept me totally distracted.

There is talk about a technological fix, but in the meantime here are official tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Safety tips from NHTSA to prevent hyperthermia include:

• Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.

• Do not let your children play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them that a vehicle is not a play area.

• Never leave infants or children in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially open or with the engine running and the air conditioning on.

• Make a habit of looking in the vehicle - front and back - before locking the door and walking away.

• If you are bringing your child to daycare, and normally it's your spouse or partner who brings them, have your spouse or partner call you to make sure everything went according to plan.

• Ask your childcare provider to call you if your child does not show up for childcare. Do things to remind yourself that a child is in the vehicle, such as:
-- Writing yourself a note and putting the note where you will see it when you leave the vehicle;
-- Placing your purse, briefcase or something else you need in the back seat so that you will have to check the back seat when you leave the vehicle; or
-- Keeping an object in the car seat, such as a stuffed toy. When the child is buckled in, place the object where the driver will notice it when he or she is leaving the vehicle.

• Always lock vehicle doors and trunks and keep keys out of children's reach. If a child is missing, check the vehicle first, including the trunk.

• If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call the police. If they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible. Warning signs may include: red, hot, and moist or dry skin, no sweating, a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse, nausea or acting strangely. Cool the child rapidly. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.


You can also leave a voice mail for yourself at work as a reminder.

Perhaps we should all glance at cars and if there's an infant seat in the back, look inside. Getting help in time could save a child's life.
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on June 16th, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC)
Keeping an object in the car seat, such as a stuffed toy. When the child is buckled in, place the object where the driver will notice it when he or she is leaving the vehicle.

That will work with an infant, but not a bigger child. As I'm sure you know.

even if the windows are partially open or with the engine running and the air conditioning on.

It's illegal to park a car with the engine running in Kentucky.

Fayette County also has a law that prohibits leaving a child under the age of 8 in a car for more than 15 minutes. That law provides for a penalty of up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $250, or both.

They're trying to pass a law here making it illegal to leave a child in a car - especially since the horrible death of baby Brian Puckett in July 1999. He was 18 months old. That day, it was 115* (not counting the humidity, not counting the heat inside the car). His babysitter left locked inside the car in his carseat to go clothes shopping. Someone heard him crying, but by the time the police got there, it was too late.

If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle

I don't remember if you saw it at OC or not, but last year someone left a child in a hot car outside one of our Bed, Bath, & Beyond shops. When someone saw the child and went into the store to ask to use the telephone to dial 911 or to have them dial 911, she was told it was against store policy for them to do such a thing.

This whole leaving kids in cars and so on and so forth just upsets me so excuse me while I vent and ramble.
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on June 16th, 2009 04:03 pm (UTC)
That law provides for a penalty of up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $250, or both.

I meant to say that this is nowhere near stern enough.
equani_tsulaequani_tsula on June 16th, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC)
Wake up call
Now that I work as a cart pusher at WalMart - in New Mexico where it is already easily in the 90s in the afternoon and often hotter, and of course, even hotter inside a car - I am constantly saddened and shocked to see children, babies, dogs, and even elderly left in the car while someone goes in to shop. Often the vehicle has an out of state license. We get a lot of tourists here who come for our big lake, hot springs, and other attractions. So maybe I can forgive someone from Michegan for not realizing how hot it really is here, and how quickly a car becomes a furnace - but what is the excuse for folks from Texas or other parts of New Mexico?

BTW - at least at the WalMart I work at, if a dog/child/elderly seems to be in real distress you can complain at the customer service counter or to an associate. Please be sure to know what the car is/looks like/license plate because there are a lot of cars in the parking lot and an emotional burst of THAT DOG IS DYING OUT THERE and stomping off is more likely to just be ignored. Okay, I've been known to go walk the parking lot end to end to find the dying dog (and I didn't so I hope either the customer got back to him first or the complainant was exagerating) but not everyone will do that. Anyway - our service desk can and has in the past paged a customer to come take care of their dog and I have no doubt at all they'd page them to come get the baby or elderly person, too.

In addition, when a person we paged over a dog didn't show up quickly, our maintenence man came to me to take him to the car to see if he could get a window or door open for the dogs sake. Luckily, the customer showed up while we were looking the situation over and opened a door for the dog.

Having said that, leaving a window open is often not much help. AND I've had a dog leap out of a window and go dashing around the parking lot. Children left unattended, let themselves out of the car and played on the cart corrals and in the parking lot.

So better yet - if you are going shopping or running errands be aware of the weather and your responsibilities to those dependent on you and either take them inside with you (we have actually allowed people to leave dogs tied up in a shady spot or in a cart in the foyer with greeters to watch them and of course, frequently elderly relatives are left sitting on the bench in the foyer enjoying the company as well as the cool), or leave them safely at home or a sitter.