I recall a couple of years ago being involved in a heated debate at a web site where most of the board members strongly felt that it isn’t “normal” to forget that you have your small child with you in your car. They stridently opined that anyone who did so, was an irresponsible monster and deserved to go to jail. This debate stemmed from the death of a small child who had been left in the vehicle all day while her mother, a hospital administrator, worked. The mother had gotten out of her routine that morning and the little one was forgotten. The fact that (at last count) 24 children have died in hot vehicles THIS YEAR ALONE because they were forgotten illustrates my point and proves, beyond any doubt, that it isn’t such an anomaly and that it’s a problem that really needs to be addressed. Another child died in a hot car yesterday. It was normally her father’s task to take her to day care but, for whatever reason, the task fell on the mother and, once she got in her “zone” driving to work, her subconscious took over and got her there out of habit. A couple of years ago a young father left his infant son in the car and worked all day — and when he came out to go home, there was the child, dead. Since then, he and his wife have had another child and now, whenever there’s a child in the car seat, he ties a tether to the child seat and then to himself, so that he won’t leave the car without being reminded of the child. This is called taking accountability. It’s tragic that he learned his lesson the hard way but I think that it’s good that he is ensuring that it will never happen again. How hard would it be for the manufacturers of child safety seats to install just such a device? Or for automobile manufacturers to install an alarm system that would alert a parent of a child’s presence when the ignition in the vehicle is turned off — heck, our cars remind us when we’ve left our lights on, why not that we’ve left a child inside? In addition to that, parents can begin getting into better habits when they have little ones in the back seat. Mom can put her purse and any other bag in the back seat, requiring her to either turn and retrieve them, or open the back door to retrieve them. Dad can put his briefcase or lunch bag in the back seat the same way Mom does her purse. This is becoming an epidemic and it needs to be addressed. Arresting parents doesn’t serve any purpose toward solving the problem. In reality, there’s nothing the justice system can do to them that will hurt them nearly as bad as having to live with the knowledge that they are responsible for their child’s death because their life is lived is such a hurry that they forgot. Simply forgot. It’s a sad testimony to how harried we have let our lives become, isn’t it?
Speaking of child restraint systems… My younger daughter and her family will be traveling here from Colorado for the Thanksgiving holiday. I purchased a CARES (child aviation restraint system) system for the 4-year-old grandson but that’s just for the plane. I need, but don’t have, the use of car seats for both him and his 1-year-old brother. For obvious reasons, I can’t see the point in buying car seats, since they’ll only be with us for 4 days and it might be a couple i only have a temporary need of the child restraint systems. Does anyone out there have any suggestions as to what type of agencies might either loan or rent them out? I’ve tried car rental agencies but, from what I can tell, they only rent seats out to people who are renting their cars. I’ll be calling the state police, fire departments, and local children’s hospital later today to see if they have a loan/rent program, but I’m not terribly hopeful. Any help from readers out there would be appreciated!