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Children left in cars
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#1 Melly_trish

Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:10 AM

We are well and truly into our hot season, so thought it was a good idea to have a reminder and discussion about precautions to take to reduce the risk of locking or leaving children in a car.    
When my oldest was a new born I remember thinking 'how on earth could someone be so stupid/neglectful etc. to leave a child in a locked car'. That was until I read this article: WARNING VERY SENSITIVE MENTIONS DEATH
Children left in cars
Now when travelling with my 2 (who tend to fall asleep within 10 minutes in the car), I take or have taken some of the following precautions:

- place a toy or children's bag on the passenger side whenever I travel with the children

- have nursery rhymes playing whenever I travel with the boys

My other issue is that my car will automatically lock if the drivers side door is not opened within a certain time period, so I make sure I leave the keys on the car roof when I am strapping the boys into their seats.  

I also have RAC no. in my phone, even if you are not a member, if you lock the car with a child in it, the call out is a priority 1.  Just to add, this is not a debate about leaving children in cars to get fuel/money out or whatever, more about the real risk about forgetting children, or accidentally locking children in cars.eta: extra warning re content of article

Edited by Melly_trish, 12 December 2012 - 12:49 AM.

#2 FlamingoG

Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:39 AM

That was the most horrific thing I have ever read. The bag on the seat is a brilliant idea - thanks for bringing it up, though I can't get any of that article out of my head.

#3 bluetea

Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:52 AM

I've read that article before. It has always stayed with me.

Leaving the child's bag on the passenger seat is a very good idea.

#4 baddmammajamma

Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:03 AM

I, too, have read that story before, and it is haunting. Your idea about keeping the child's bag or some other item to "always remind you" is a good one.

The other thing I do in hot weather is ALWAYS keep my antenna up for children or pets trapped in cars when I am out and about. Rather than speedwalk to the entry of a shop or the mall, I try to take an extra moment to look at every vehicle I walk past. I've taught my kids (5 & 7) to do the same as we walk together.

Thank you, OP, for this important reminder!

#5 bakesgirls

Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:56 AM

I was near in tears reading that article, but I was actually in tears after I read about the worst case that involved the child pulling all her hair out. cry1.gif

It can happen to absolutely anyone. It almost happened to me.

When DD1 was around 11 months old, I was supposed to drop her at daycare. I very rarely dropped her at daycare as DH would always do it as he drove past there to get to work, it was out of the way for me. I was distracted by so many things that day, including a new job I had applied for and was expecting a call to tell me if my application had been successful. I was stressing about money, bills, work, the fact I was running late and my mind just wandered off.

I put DD in her seat, got in to the car myself and just drove to work. I had forgotten she was in the back as she was so quiet. I arrived at work and parked my car. Thank God I had put some things on the floor in the back of the car, I hadn't planned on taking these things to work initially. When I opened the rear door, I saw her there, fast alseep in her seat. If I hadn't needed to get those things out, I would have just locked my car and not returned until the end of the day.

I really can happen to you even if you think it never would. That's what I used to think- 'that kind of thing will never happen to me'. It didn't happen because I didn't love her enough. It happened because my mind was overtaken by a million other things and I was also doing something that I very rarely did, so wasn't in my 'routine'.

Since then I have always put my handbag in the back (so I have to turn around and get it) or the baby bag on the front passenger seat or front passenger floor.

Thank you OP, for posting the link. It's a great reminder that these horrible things do happen and we need to take steps to try to prevent it.

#6 Nora.

Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:22 AM

This winter we returned from my son's soccer match. We all came in the house, grandad included. After about 15 minutes I asked my daughter if she'd seen our son, she said she hadn't. So I asked her to see if he was outside. She came back & said she couldn't see him. We checked the house (sometimes we'll call him and he ignores us), couldn't find him. I then went out to look myself. I still wasn't hugely concerned as the kids have a habit of getting out of the car and running around next door. The only thing that did register on my radar a bit was that the boy next door usually plays footy on a Saturday.

Anyway, went out to find my son hysterically crying and locked in his dad's car. We'd all got out, my husband just locked the car as you do, and we all went inside. My son can be a bit slow to get out of the car (drives me insane). Thankfully it happened in winter, and the car hadn't got hot. If it happened on a summers day I have no doubt he could have died. I hate that modern cars are so much harder to get out of and car horns don't work unless the key is in the ignition.

#7 BadCat

Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:52 AM

A baby girl died after being left in a car in Bendigo just yesterday. It's absolutely heartbreaking.

Thank you for the timely reminder OP. Great idea to put a reminder on the passenger seat.  Anything that will jog your memory is a good idea.

Edited by BadCat, 12 December 2012 - 05:54 AM.

#8 Coffeegirl

Posted 12 December 2012 - 06:59 AM

Placing handbag in the floorwell directly behind the driver's seat is a good thing to practise.  Not only does it deter the odd 'snatch 'n grab' that can happen in traffic, but you have to actually either turn around, or get out of the car to get the bag.  

Not sure just a toy woud trigger my memory.   My car always looks like a travelling toybox.

#9 FeralAlpacaWarrior

Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:20 AM

I nearly left DD1 in the car when she was about 2 months old. If it hasn't have been for my friend with me, I would have forgotten her. I was sleep deprived. Now I always put my nappy bag behind the passenger seat. It's so big that I have to take it out via the rear passenger door, the seat where DD2 sits.

My dad works for RACQ in Brisbane and gets called out to kids locked in cars. He told me to always hold on to my keys, never throw them in to the car, when I am putting the girls in, as sometimes with the way keys land they press the door locking button, and then when you close the last door they're all locked. He said he's seen it on many occasions.

Edited by lovealpacas, 12 December 2012 - 09:21 AM.

#10 Justaduck

Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:32 AM

We were moving house 2 months ago. I was following DP in my car with DD in it. He had the fridge on the back of his ute, and it slid and fell as he turned a corner. I got out of my car, thinking I would just be a second helping him pick it up. I ended up being 10mins and in the stress of it all completely forgot DD was asleep in the car. I ALWAYS wind the windows down if I am out of the car for half a second (ie to drop something at the mailbox I have parked next to).
10 mins later (before we were finished) I remembered she was in the car. She was pale, soaking wet from sweat and had a very weak cry. It was a Sat arvo and no Drs were open so I just wound down the windows (black car too so didn't help), blasted the ac and drove to the hospital. She had the biggest feed she's ever had in the waiting room and they saw us quickly. Luckily she was all good and only a little dehyrated and we were sent on her way. It just showed me how easy it is to leave them behind, and how short a time it takes for things to go bad.

Personally...if I locked her in the car and emergency services were more than a few mins away I would just smash the front window with whatever I could find. I would rather have a big bill for a broken window and cut my arm than leave her there any longer

#11 wallofdodo

Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:37 AM

I have read that article too. The main message I got from it is, you need to be vigilant when your plans are outside of normal.

For me it will be that I will leave my son in daycare. Once a quater, he needs to do an extra day. I often find myself on that day, sitting at my desk, thinking about getting home, catching the train, reading a book... oh wait NO, must remember to pick him up.

It is good to have those reminders that a few of you have talked about. So scary.

#12 Chelli

Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:52 AM

Very timely reminder of the devastating results of leaving children in hot cars.  Thanks for sharing some great tips on how to avoid making this mistake.

#13 Nepheline

Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:50 AM

That article was heartbreaking. Those poor families.

It happened again yesterday in Bendigo:


#14 Cranky Kitten

Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:51 AM

I had tears streaming down my face as I read that. Then gave my boy an extra big cuddle and an eskimo kiss (he loves them).

I've done the reverse forget, forgot to pick DD up from daycare one day as I usually worked afternoon shift that finished when she was in bed so XP would pick her up but I was doing a day shift. Got home, got a phonecall from the daycare centre to see how far away I was. I can totally see how it could happen the other way, forgetting to drop them off and not noticing.

I like the idea of the bag on the back seat as a reminder. I also worry sometimes about so many cars having window shades - sure they cut the heat but they also block out the view of the back so if there was a child in there you'd never know.

#15 Jamelex

Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:57 AM

I, also, put my handbag and/or nappy bag in the footwell in front of the baby seat so I have to open his door to get the bag. I can get it from the front, but it's awkward.

My SIL and her family came to visit us one day. I don't recall it being too hot and after about 10-15mins, I asked where her DS2 was, at the time aged about eight. A look of panic, she raced out to her car and brought him inside. He'd fallen asleep in the car on the way here after playing sport and in the confusion of getting the other kids inside and all the things they had brought, he was left in the car. He was hot, sweaty, very red-faced and a bit weak. He picked up as soon as he came inside and had a cool drink. Every time I think of it, I thank heaven that he was ok, it could have been so much worse. I get a bit paranoid about kids in cars now...

#16 ~chiquita~

Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:10 AM

I couldn't finish the article. cry1.gif
I've never before but will start putting my handbag behind the passenger seat. Thanks for the tip.

#17 FeralLIfeHacker

Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:19 AM

Not sure if it's the same story but I remember seeing an Oprah show once where the Mum and Dad switched roles in the morning, so the Mum who normally drove straight to work forgot that she was supposed to drop the baby off at daycare so the baby sat for hours in the car until a passerby noticed, it was too late.  It was horrible.
The Dad who normally dropped the baby off at daycare had gone to work and later heard the terrible news,  so sad and shows how we often do things on autopilot.

#18 Jane Jetson

Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:33 AM

If that's the long article on the subject I've already read, I'm afraid I can't do it again, it's too heartbreaking.

My in-laws call me a helicopter about pools and water, but my paranoia over that pales in comparison to the car issue - my DH has ADHD and I get very nervous about this. Every morning I email him to ask how DD2 was when he dropped her off at daycare, to make sure he did! Poor man, I do trust him but the part of me that read that story doesn't.

#19 RichardParker

Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:29 PM

I can totally see how it could happen to anyone.  I've read that article before and the whole situation is just tragic.

#20 Liadan

Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:52 PM

I have read it before, and knowing how it all goes, I cannot read past the first page.

They are terrible tragic stories. Innocent parents who have to live their entire lives knowing what happened to their children happened because of them.

It terrifies me that it could happen to anyone, it could happen to me. The thought of that happening to my daughter... scares me beyond belief.

Since I first read this article two years ago, I share it on my facebook wall every summer.

#21 Lauren Bell

Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:04 PM

Like PP I couldn't finish the article. Good for you OP for bringing awareness to this situation, I hope people take notice.

ETA ill never be able to forget that article.. So sad

Edited by MissBB, 12 December 2012 - 01:09 PM.

#22 Bluenomi

Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:17 PM

I was reading recently about how many kids end up locked in cars every month and it's huge! One story the mother was saying how she gave her toddler the keys to play with, shut the door with him in the carseat, he locked the doors, dropped the keys and was stuck!! How stupid do you have to be to let you kids lock themselves in a car?

Forgetting your kid is in the car is one thing but doing something like that is beyond stupid.

#23 ~buzz~

Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:50 PM

that is so heartbreaking the poor parents and the poor children  cry1.gif

#24 Wafflegirl

Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:51 PM

I have also read that article before, and always wanted to post it, yet was a little afraid to as it is so horrifying (well it was for me when I read it during my pregnancy).  

The fear that this could happen to anyone, that these were ordinary loving parents going about their normal routines whose lives were shattered because they did the unimaginable - it has always always stayed with me.  It is honestly the reason why I so often still call my husband of a morning asking how the drop off went.

I also always think back to this article in those situations in my life where I am flying on autopilot in my hard-wired routines, and how an unexpected interruption can cause you to just tick things off your list as if they happened when they didn't, or else you just completely forget you were in the middle of doing something - it's frightening how easily that can happen, and to these poor people it happened at the wrong time in the wrong situation with deadly consequences.

#25 roses99

Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:06 PM

Thanks for posting this, OP.

This is also one of my great fears. When I first read that article, I started putting my bag behind the driver's seat. It is one of those terrible things that people think will never happen to them, but we all underestimate just how easily it CAN happen.

The other thing I've done, is to drill into my kids that they are never to be in the car without an adult. I've actually told my five year old that if he does this or if he lets his sister do this, they could die. Possibly a bit extreme? I know it freaked him out. But I also know that it's had an impact on him and he is super careful about it. When we're getting ready to go out, he'll stand next to his door but he won't actually get in until we're ready to all get in and go.

I am watching a friend go through the sheer horror of losing a small child in a tragic accident two months ago - another one of those things that wasn't her fault, but just a serious of circumstances that all conspired and resulted in his death. One of those things that could happen to any of us. It's beyond devastating; it's unspeakable.  

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