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Author: toni

~ 04/26/10


Dog maulings, pool drownings and being left in hot cars. Three completely avoidable tragedies that happen to children every year.

MAMMAKAZE Trudy pointed out the latest hot car tragedy. It happened in Antioch, California. A 7 month-old girl died after being left in the car all night and for much of the next day.

The parents (mid-20s) left the baby in her rear-facing car seat after returning home at night from doing laundry at a relative’s house. Each thought the other had taken the baby into the house.  

It wasn’t until 2pm the next afternoon when the mother awoke that she discovered the baby wasn’t in her crib. She frantically called her husband who was at the gym. He rushed out and looked in the car. The baby was there but by then it was too late.

2 PM THE NEXT AFTERNOON?!  Okay, I gotta ask. How does a mother not notice her 7 month-old child is missing for 14 hours?  I mean, kids that age need to eat and be changed every few hours right? They fuss, they cry, they require attention.  And as a mother your instinct is to be in constant contact with them, right?

Okay. I know exhaustion was a factor. Apparently both parents were working two jobs. And they also had a 2 year old. That’s rough. I personally remember being soooo tired after Julia was born I couldn’t count my toes without losing track. And I wasn’t working 2 jobs nor did I have a second child to run around after.

So I won’t go off any more on these parents. I know they didn’t mean to do it. I know they’re devastated.  And they will live with the guilt of their mistake for the rest of their lives. I can’t even imagine their pain.

But there are things that parents can do to avoid this kind of tragedy. The first of which is to stop thinking it can’t happen to you. Because (except for the occasional selfish moron who leaves his kid in the car so he can get drunk at a strip club)  this sort of tragedy has occured in all age groups, all levels of education and income. The common denominators: exhaustion and change of routine.

Also, don’t think you have to live in a hot climate for this to be a danger. The temperature topped out at 78 degrees in this tragedy. But the inside of the car got up to 110 degrees.

So if you have a small child, add the following to your list of ways to protect your child which include outlet plugs and those bumpers for your coffee table.



1. Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and place it in the front seat to remind you that there is a child in the back.

2. Put something in the back that requires you to open the back door every time you park – like a purse or lunch bag.

3. Ask your childcare provider to call you right away if the child hasn’t arrived at the normal time.


Bottom line…As parents it’s our responsibility to do everything to protect our children. Nothing is too extreme where the safety of our kids is concerned.

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