Accidentally leaving a child in a hot car is a tragic mistake that anyone could make. Blame our faulty brains, among other things. (And if you haven’t read Gene Weingarten’s 2009 Washington Post story on hot car deaths, make a point to do so – it’s masterful.) As parents, the sooner we realise we’re not insusceptible, the sooner we can all look for ways to end the devastating statistic that an average of 37 children die in hot cars each year, without judgement.
We’re seeing a new crop of tech solutions to address this issue. Nissan just announced an alert system that will remind drivers to check for passengers in the back seat. GMC and Hyundai have also developed child-reminder features. There are devices and apps and car seats with built-in sensors designed to help keep kids safe.
There is also a prevention tactic that’s free. It’s an idea that’s been around on social media for a few years, and while it’s sometimes scoffed at, I think it’s smart, so I am sharing it. After buckling your baby into their car seat, take off your left shoe and keep it in the backseat as you drive. The idea is that you won’t get very far without your shoe, and therefore you’ll always remember your child. (And no, you’re not saying your shoe is more important than your baby – it is simply a mental thing.)
You might feel a little silly doing it, but it might just prevent the unthinkable.