Yes, you read the title right. I left my newborn son in the car. What kind of stupid mom am I? I must be a really bad parent, right? I don’t think so. Most people who know me know how much I love, adore, respect and cherish my children. So how could I leave my son in the car?
It happened easier than you think.
I was on my way to pick my older son up from school. And as most new parents do, I was constantly checking in the rear view mirror to see my baby sleeping peacefully in the back seat. Every time I looked at him, my heart melted (still does).
Just as I got to school and was parking the car, I finally got a return phone call from his doctor. We had been playing phone tag and I really needed to make an appointment for him. So I answered the phone and parked the car while talking to my baby’s doctor.
So much of what we do in life is just habit. Without even thinking about it, I parallel parked my car into a spot, put the car in park, rolled the windows up, unlatched my seat belt, swung my legs over, exited the car, turned back to press the door lock and shut the door. All while managing to look at my calendar to see what dates I had available.
After finalizing the time and date, I ended the call and continued walking into my son’s preschool. He was so excited to see me, but ran back to continue playing with his friend that was still there. I started chatting with the other mom like we did every day. After a few minutes, my older son walked up to me and asked me where the baby was.
My heart sank!
I had left him in the car!
In a blink of an eye, I ran out of that school (leaving my older son just standing there) and ran straight to the car. My baby was still sleeping. When I opened the door, the car had already started to get really hot. When I pulled my baby out he was sweating like crazy.
Then the tears started rolling.
He was ok. The other mom tried her best to comfort me. But I was distraught. I had LEFT my SON in the CAR! I had become one of those “stupid” parents that left their child. I was sooooooo lucky!
The biggest reason I am so lucky is because I realize that it can happen to anyone. I NEVER in a million years thought that I could be one of those parents that could leave their kid. Seriously, what kind of parent leaves their child in a broiling car?
Turns out, a kind, loving, devoted mother can leave their child in a broiling car.
Next time you read or see a story about how a parent left their child, before you start judging them, take a moment to realize that the parent has lost their child from something they did. Could you even imagine the guilt you would feel? Can you imagine how their spouse feels? My heart goes out to every family that has had to deal with this kind of tragedy.
More importantly realize that it could happen to you. To help prevent it from happening here are some really good tips from kidsandcars.org:
- Put something you’ll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, etc., on the floor
board in the back seat.
- Get in the habit of always opening the back door of your vehicle every time you reach your destination
to make sure no child has been left behind. This will soon become a habit. We call this the “Look
Before You Lock” campaign.
- Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat when it’s not occupied. When the child is placed in
the seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It’s a visual reminder that anytime the
stuffed animal is up front you know the child is in the back seat in a child safety seat.
It is true about habits. The more you do something, the more it will become second nature. I now look in the rear view mirror and check both car seats every time I get out of the car… even when I run to the grocery store by myself.