Prompted by a recent tragedy in which a young child was killed after being left in a hot vehicle, the Chicago Tribune has released a report focused on raising awareness about the serious issue. With help from the KidsandCars organization, the article provides some guidance to parents so that such events never happen.
As the KidsandCars president notes, parents usually don’t mean to leave their children behind in the car. All it takes is a simple memory lapse for a tragedy to occur. The threat is compounded when parents are adjusting to a new daily routine or coping with a lack of sleep.
Children are more susceptible to the threat both due to their inability to unlock or open the doors and to the state of their bodies at that age. Not only do kids generally take in more heat than adults, but they can’t cool off because the fat in their bodies provides insulation and their skin isn’t capable of sweating to the degree that an adult can.
Perhaps the best thing that a parent can do is get in the habit of always looking in the backseat. To accomplish this, they can start keeping a necessary item in the back so that they’re forced to look behind them every time they stop the car. A briefcase or a cellphone might suffice. Parents should also develop a rapport with a babysitter or daycare supervisor, as this person could call the parent if a child doesn’t get there on time.