INDIANAPOLIS – The news that two parents in separate central Indiana incidents left their young child in a sweltering vehicle during a record heat wave has stirred outrage, but national child car-safety advocates say that, in reality, it happens more often than people realize and it happens to all kinds of parents.
On Saturday, a 4-month-old girl died in Greenfield and a 16-month-old girl in Fishers suffered a seizure and was in critical condition after being left locked in stifling hot cars.
Linked story details the two cases.
Janette Fennell tracks these cases as the president and founder of KidsAndCars.org. She says that perhaps 90% of the time, the parent is the type to put latches on their doors and padding around the coffee table.
She has met college professors, lawyers and ministers who have done it. Only a small percentage, she said, have drug problems or have had interactions with child protective services. "It's the exact opposite of the stereotype," she said.
Several who knew the Stryzinskis said they left no impression that they were anything but upstanding citizens.
"This is a good family that has lost a child they loved," said 39-year-old next-door neighbor Cherie Sirosky.
i felt like crying when i first read this article. i hope all parents can remember to take their children out of the car when they leave as well! I'm sure no parent does it intentionally, but its still something that one should be very mindful of.
Ugh, there was just a case near here where a father left his two children in the car to go into a Target. It was over 100 F degrees outside. Fortunately, someone called the police and they came and got the children out before serious damage was done. But this wasn't a case of forgetting; it was putting his children's lives at risk for convenience. I cannot express how angry these cases make me.
these stories always break my heart. unlike the Target situation above i read a very interesting article/study a few years ago on how this could happen. it claimed that there was often a change in the adults routine. for e.g., if mom always dropped the child off at daycare and one day dad did it, that change in routine can possibly lead to tragedy.
I think the people that forget their child is in the car must be people that don't stay with their kids all day. As a stay at home mom, there's no way you can forget your baby because all you do all day is take care of the baby.
Yes, it usually happens when there is a change in routine and it isn't intentional. However, we hear about these cases EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. Wouldn't you think that people would be smart enough to do something to make sure it didn't happen? I am so forgetful that when one of my kids loses a tooth I need to put a piece of tape on my wrist after they go to bed, otherwise the Tooth Fairy will forget to come. But I know that I can't remember a change in routine, so I do something to make sure I will remember. So why not put your purse or your briefcase or your cell phone or something else essential to your routine right next to the baby to make sure that you can't forget? Case after case, year after year... obviously people cannot be depended on not to forget, so people need to be proactive. Even if it was unintentional, I could NEVER forgive a spouse who forgot a child and left them to die a horrible death in, essentially, an oven.
And alliema is absolutely right, too. Parents who take care of a child all day every day check the backseat and have a moment of panic even when they know they have left the child at home with a spouse because they are so used to having the baby with them all the time. This almost never happens to a stay-at-home-parent because part of the routine, no matter where you go, is to get the baby in and out of the car.
I can understand how it may happen, especially if they have more than 2 kids who get dropped off to different places. I only have 1 child and he is usually very loud in the car (talking and singing) and almost never sleeps in it. It's been that way since he was born so there is no way I can forget that he's in the car.
But of course, I'm always paranoid about stuff like this so I always do a quick scan before leaving the car.
OT, but I detest parking out in the open during summer/sunny season. I cannot stand it. I avoid it at all costs. It gets too hot for my DS to get into his car seat. If I have to park out in the open during day time for whatever reason, I put up shades all around my car. The front, side windows, and a towel over the car seat. I have yet to find a shade that fits the back of the car. It is still warm when I get back but at least it's safe for DS to get in. Whenever possible, I pay extra for indoor garage parking. I used to love summer, but now I hate it because it can get too hot and dangerous for DS to play outside.
This happens more and more the "busier" everyone gets (for some reason it seems to get worse with technology, like people are more distracted). We all get busy at times, but if someone is driving and they don't even know their kid is in the car seat (even if the kid is asleep) then it's time to reevaluate priorities.
I know a family where this happened. The father, a University professor, was supposed to bring the child to daycare but didn't usually do that. It was the change in routine and the fatigue of being a new parent that led to his son's death. He didn't forget he had a son, but he forgot he had his son in the car. No one judges him more harshly than he himself does. He has to live with this and forgive himself every day. His wife forgave him. Pretty sure I wouldn't be able to, but she did.
Another friend, yes, met these families at a grief site when dd died, the wife forgave the dh after their 13 yo was killed in a car accident with dh at the wheel.
On the other hand, when I was a nanny, I did emergency relief care for a family whose nanny left the baby (18-24 months, I don't recall her age at the time) in the car to go to Target and shop alone. Not kidding. The police came and rescued the child. The police pressed charges; the family didn't have to do a thing.
So sad. I went to pump gas and didn't leave the car running (for air conditioning) with my 8 year old in the car this Summer and when I got back in and looked at her in the back seat she was dripping with sweat! I said to her Keturraaaaah why didn't you get out and come stand by me you must be so hot!! She just went
This was less than 5 mins and she was soaking in the face, I can only imagine what those poor children must go through