When the topic of a hot-car death is brought up, most parents have an initial jerk reaction that says, "How could any parent ever let this happen?" Although it seems like such an impossible mistake to leave your child in the back of a hot car, when this happens, it usually is just that: a mistake. And according to science, it can happen to anyone.
We posted a status on our Facebook to gather some reader responses, which read: "Because it can happen to anyone, we're looking for the best tips for remembering your little one's in the car with you during the hot Summer months. What are yours?" We are extremely appreciative to those who offered up their tips, free of judgments.
Of course, no one of us wants to believe this could happen to us, but it's never a bad idea to be overly cautious, seeing as every Summer, these heatstroke deaths do tragically happen. Here are the tips our readers shared that will be worth it if they can save even one child's life:
- "Keep one shoe in the back seat!" — Katrina T.
- "I've read that when you do something out of your routine your brain creates a sort of false memory track to fill the gaps. One time I was driving to a store like 30 minutes away from my home. I took advantage of the carpool lane and got to the store, only to realize I was alone in the car. I could remember putting my infant in the car and setting the diaper bag at the foot of the car seat. But I didn't. . . . Things like this happen all the time. I was only lucky that it was sort of an opposite experience. So my husband and I made an agreement to always check on each other. I'll text him, 'You got Jack,' and he'll do the same. We also try not to be assh*les to parents that have suffered unimaginable tragedy. But that's just us." — Rachel L.
- "I would put my work bag with my swipe card for my office in the back seat under the car seat. I was super paranoid of this ever happening. Got me in the habit of going there no matter what." — Kiri P.
- "It has never happened to me or anyone I know, but it can happen. Things happen. Sometimes just a change in your schedule or being sleep-deprived form having a newborn. I always leave my bag on the floor of the back seat to not forget." — Catherine S.
- "Have a spot for your your phone in the backseat . . . shouldn't have it out while you are driving anyway. Or better have an alarm set on your phone for a set time before you arrive to work reminding you to drop off at daycare." — Bethany F.
- "You have to get into an auto habit of looking in the back seat or ALWAYS putting the child's stuff beside your purse in the front seat . . . IF you have kids that day or not." — Keli B.
- "Look before you lock! I heard this today." — Erin M.
- "I used to use a teddy bear. If the child was in the car teddy was on the front passenger's seat if child wasn't teddy was strapped into his seat. So simple put child in seat toss teddy in front of car." — Rosanna C.
- "These accidents happen when there is a change in schedule or pattern. Put all your items (purse, wallet, and ESPECIALLY PHONE) on the floorboard of the backseat. If you have a separate key fob from your car key for keyless entry put that back there too." — Rachel K.
- "I count my kids often, to make sure they are all there. I personally can't imagine it happening to me, but after I had my oldest, I was not used to bringing him to a sitter so I could work. I got almost the whole way to work before I realized I didn't drop him off. I drove that trip five times a week for two years with no kids. I can definitely see how a change in routine can make you forget." — Becca R.
- "Slow down. If you know you are about to do something this isn't apart of your routine, just slow down. . . . Honestly, I can't fathom forgetting my children, my life revolves around them. But we would all rather be safe, than sorry. . . . Put on their music, nursery rhymes whatever. Put a dang sticky note right there on the steering wheel. Whatever it takes. Their life depends on it." — Katie H.
- "Because I do not have kids but often babysit or transport little ones I usually use a dry erase marker on the windshield to remind me they are in the back. Not usually an issue for older kiddos but if it's an infant who usually sleeps in the car I like to. I don't like to think I'd ever forget a kid in the car but you never know. Better safe than sorry!" — Cori L.