Sunday, August 3, 2014

Staying Calm in Distress




Things to know should your child be locked in a car.

How do parents or caregivers forget their child in the car? And do they truly forget or do they not want the hassle of taking their child out while they run a “quick” errand or two?
Now, I get as parents and caregivers that we are all prone to making stupid mistakes sometimes. For example, I once accidentally locked my keys in the car with my child still inside. It took me seconds to realize what I had done, and I immediately called AAA and waited by the car until they arrived shortly after—nervously distracting him as I anxiously waited for the truck.
Lately the news has been filled with stories of parents who “accidentally” left their child in the car. In some cases, a concerned and observant passerby, while in other more tragic cases saves the children; the child dies from the heat. These stories turn my stomach.
Well-intentioned people have suggested solutions such as:
  • Taking off your left shoe and putting it in the back seat in the hopes that when you get out of the car, you’ll realize that you have only one shoe on and—oh my goodness—you also have a child in the back seat!
  • I thought this was a cute innovative idea that 11-year-old Andrew Pelham invented. Basically, when closing your car door you loop around the ” easy baby saver.” Boy invents device to remind parents of children in hot cars – WKRN News 2
The only issue I see with this is that if people are prone to forget their kids in the car, how likely are parents to remember to loop the device in the first place?
I might suggest that f you’re that prone to forgetting that you have a child in the car, you may not be ideally equipped to be caring for that child in the first place. According to Fire Captain/ Public Information Officer Steve Concialdi, in Orange County alone, there are on average two calls per day about a child being locked inside a vehicle. First of all, you should never leave your child in the car, however, if you happen to leave your child in the car while its running, roll down your window. Get in the habit of rolling down your car windows.
My heart always races when I hear stories about kids left in the car. A month ago while at school, I noticed that a vehicle with three small children in it. While the windows were down, there was no adult nearby, so I called the campus police to alert them to the situation and they arrived and handled it. I’m not sure what I would have done had the windows been up. I suppose my first instinct would be try to open the doors. If they were locked and the children appeared to be in distress, I would have broken the window in an attempt to assist them.
It’s a good thing that wasn’t the case, as had I done that, I could have made a bad situation even worse. According to Capt. Concialdi, you should never try to remove children from someone else’s car—even if you have the best intentions in doing so—as that could be considered kidnapping and other issues could arise. As for breaking the glass, he said that’s something you should never do, as the glass can fly everywhere, potentially harming the child or you. Instead, he advises that you call 911 and wait by the vehicle until they arrive, which should take only minutes. The fire department has the tools to open car doors relatively quickly and very safely.
Capt. Concialdi told me that in 25 years he has had to resort to breaking windows only a couple of times, and those were limited to new, higher-end cars with an advanced locking or anti theft systems. In terms of what they look for to determine the level of distress the child is experiencing, he said that they look for skin signs (skin signs never lie), labored breathing or lethargy.
It’s also important to remember that if you do accidentally lock your child in the car and are waiting for the fire department, police or roadside assistance, you should remain calm. Yes, I know this is easier said than done, but if the child sees you crying, they are likely to begin panicking and crying as well. It’s important that they see you calm.
Check out the article in Parenting OC as well

50 comments:

(Terry) My Journey With Candida said...

How scary when something like this happens.. but it does happen. Remaining calm would be the hardest thing to do in a case like this.
I have locked my keys in the car, but thank goodness there was no baby on board.

Jaredamy said...

I dont know, I just find it nearly impossible to forget my child in the back seat! My little ones are so vocal too that they wouldn't allow this to happen!

Kay Adeola said...

I never understand how someone can forget their child in a car,it is really unbelievable to me,I can understand if someone locks Their keys in the car and a child is in there but not forgetting the child altogether.

Lois Alter Mark said...

I can't understand how someone can forget that their child is in the car but thanks for raising awareness of this and providing good tips just in case.

Carly from The Puzzled Palate said...

I am with you- I can't imagine that one could accidentally forget their kid! I think I more likely to be locked out by my son. Once I buckle him, he has a tendency to flip the lock on his door with his toe- locking all of the doors!

Growing Up Madison said...

I've actually wondered, how do parents forget their kids. As a mom for the past 18 years I've never forgotten any of my kids. Lost them in the store because they were too busy watching toys instead of following me, but never left them in the car.

Marielle Altenor said...

It seriously cannot wrap my mind around how someone could forget their kids in the car. I mean HOW?? I hadn't heard of this happening up here in Montreal but recently it's been in the news 2 times (that I've heard of). The part about taking your shoes off when you get in the car so that when you go out you are reminded is a good idea...but it makes you wonder...if you really need to go to that extent NOT to forget your child in the car...well...I have no words. This is one subject that really riles me up!

Ann B said...

It is such a sad situation and I want to cry everytime I hear about people leaving their child in a car. So preventable.

Cynthia Wright said...

It makes me soo sad how often I've heard of people leaving kids in the car. I wonder why it's happening so much more often.

Marina @ Mommy Snippets said...

Great post! It's soo scary when these things happen.

Tough Cookie Mommy said...

I actually got locked in my car after I had my youngest. I was stuck in the backseat with the baby and Hubby took the keys. I couldn't climb up to unlock the doors so I am careful about not leaving kids in the car ever.

Susanna Barbee said...

This is so scary. My littlest got locked in the car when he was about 18 months old because I was driving someone else's car and didn't realize the doors would lock automatically when I shut the door. It was so scary! I had a very hard time staying calm as we waited on the emergency crew.

Unknown said...

I never understood how anyone could forget their kid in the car. I literally can't even wrap my brain around it. I love the idea of the shoe in the backseat.

Lindsey Paris said...

I just don't see how anyone can forget their kids. I just don't.... I do have to keep my keys in my hand, because Red likes to play with the lock and lock his doors!

GayNYCDad said...

This did happen to my sister-in-law with my first nephew. It was pretty scary. And sometimes accidents do happen, don't judge!

Tracy Batwinas said...

As someone who lives like the Absent Minded Professor I can almost relate. I've had to develop a lot of strategies in my life to make it workable, sort of like leaving a shoe in the back seat ideas. When it's happened in my area its usually a result of an over stressed and an overwhelmed family trying to juggle transportation for the kids. I feel for them; the aftermath must be devastating.

Virginia Higgins said...

A few years ago, after a visit with my Mom, I was about to leave when Mom waved to me that she had a question. I had just started the van after buckling my kids into their seat belts. As I turned to chat with Mom, I closed the van door because the air was on. I didn't realize my elbow hit the locking mechanism, and I locked my kids in the van. I was definitely in a panic. My kids were in five point harnesses and neither knew how to get their harness off. Fortunately, I had started the van and turned on the air before accidentally locking them in, because it took an hour for help to come unlock my van. Longest. Hour. Ever.

Dawn said...

Great post. Our lives get so hectic that it's easy to forget things - like the fact that your kid is in the back seat. It's not that we're bad parents, we just have so much on our plates that our brains switch to auto pilot. While not bad in itself, it can lead to horrendous consequences.

Chrystal Mahan said...

It's a natural habit to lock the door. I know so many people over the years who have gotten out of the car, shut the door went to get their child out of the backseat only to realize they locked their keys in the car. It happens.

Dallas Socials said...

Great info. I think it's imperative to stay calm in such situations (even though it might seem impossible).

Teresa Moody said...

I don't know if I could stay calm in a situation like that. My husband would be calm one if they were stuck

jaime said...

I remember about two summers ago, in my city, a mom locked her keys and child in the car. She walked over to her husband's workplace to get the spare set. And while she was en route, passersby broke the window to get into the car. It was totally justified - it was a really hot summer. (I like the shoe idea, just in case I was super forgetful.)

Liz Mays said...

My daughter locked me out of the house once and that was scary but I managed to remain calm. I just kept talking to her through the window while I called for help. I suspect I'd be calm in a car situation too, but not nearly AS calm because of temperatures.

Stefany T said...

I used to leave the car running at school pickup with my baby inside in the air conditioning. I would stand at the end of the car. But, I always rolled down the window enough that if (God forbid) the doors somehow locked, I would still be able to reach in and get them doors open.

Shop with Me Mama said...

Love this post and all the advice in it. Things happen unfortunately and we all need to be educated if something like this, God forbid, does happen to one of us!

Shell said...

I accidentally locked my kids in the car once. Thankfully, my husband was working 2 blocks away and came right home and let them out. It was in early fall with moderate temps and they were in there for less than 5 minutes, but I was so glad my husband was so close!

Pam said...

I forgot my daughter in the car while I was taking groceries in once. She was normally a very loud baby, and she had fallen asleep. I remembered her once I was in the house, putting up groceries. Luckily I hadn't locked the doors or anything. Thanks for all the advice in this post.

Savory Experiments said...

Let me start by saying I don't have kids, so I am sure things can get chaotic or your mind is some place else, but how in the world do you forget a child??? Our friends once accidentally locked their infant in the car because they had a rental and didn't realize the doors automatically locked. Of course, the keys were in the car. Their son slept through the whole ordeal and we were able to get him out within 10 minutes of calling 911. We were NOT so good about staying calm :)

Debra Rutt said...

This was always a big fear of mine when the kids were small. Luckily they're older now and know how to unlock and open the doors when instructed.

debdenny said...

I can see locking your keys in the car and kids in there. Very stressful. Leaving child and forgetting really has no excuse. Sorry if I offend anyone, but that is how I feel. Just no excuse.

BrettBMartin said...

This is very good advice. I'll definitely keep this in mind if I ever run into a situation like this.

Laura Grace Andry said...

Things happen all the time. A door gets closed and keys get dropped. This is a huge fear of mine because it could easily happen to anyone. People today pass judgment and report "new" without knowing all the facts and instead of acting with a little empathy and kindness - leap to judgments. I find that negativity sad. I love these suggestions, especially the shoe one. Great idea!

Rachael Ebner said...

I never locked my daughter in the car. I'd have to be pretty out of it to forget my kid is in the car.

renee from what mommies need said...

Luckily, I have never locked my kid in the car, but I can imagine it is very scary. Thanks for all the tips, in case I do ever make that mistake.

Christie C said...

I hope that I NEVER do this! Scary to think about! I love the idea of leaving a shoe

Kristin said...

So scary!! Great tips!!! Hope to never go through this!

Tracey said...

It makes me sad how often I've heard of people leaving kids in the car. With all the awareness about it, I still don't get why it happens so much.

Tiffany C. said...

I've locked my daughter in the car with the car turned off and it was summer. YIKES. I called my husband and within 5 minutes he was there with the keys. I played games with her through the glass and tried to distract her from the fact she was locked in. She was too young to get out of her carseat by herself. I blame it on our brand new car that I wasn't use to yet.

Carly said...

I have never understood how people leave their children in the car. But it is done so often, sadly.

mail4rosey said...

We got locked out of the house once when my then-teen son took the key off and forgot to put it back on. It was cold outside and we had the little one, that was scary enough.

Theresa Mahoney said...

I will never understand how one can forget their child in a car. I am the most scatterbrained person alive, probably, but I never once forgot about my kids being in the car with me.

Krystal Butherus said...

This is such a timely post. There have been too many horror stories on the news

Mary O'Malley said...

I don't have children so I can't even fathom how one would lock their child in the car, or forget them. But this is a really great article, and as the person above said it really is a timely post, and can be relatable from now into the future.

TerriAnn van Gosliga said...

Two calls per day? That's horrible. I get that people make mistakes. However, regularly leaving kids in the car, unless they are young adults, is just not right. Especially on hot days and not leaving the windows down is just irresponsible!

Amber said...

My son is old enough to unbuckle himself and open the door. God forbid something like that happen when he was little or to the next one I would have to break a window! It's so scary!

Kendra from Headband for Today said...

I have to admit I locked my son in the car once. It was in our garage and he was 3 so old enough to be in his car seat but he couldn't get out. It was pretty scary for me but he was calm.

Cynthia Wright said...

That would be soo carry. Thanks for the tips.

Marina @ Mommy Snippets said...

I can't imagine! That would be soo scary.

MrsAshley said...

This is a great post! It's hard to imagine leaving a kid in the car. Even if I leave them in there momentarily while I run to get the mail or get something out of the house I'll leave the air on and roll down a window in case I would accidentally lock it. I'm a little paranoid about it!

Kiwi said...

I am not a parent but it still baffles my mind how a parent can "forget" their child in the backseat. Look I have a cell phone and I know almost immediately if I left it somewhere or forgot it at home (which rarely happens). People just need to pay attention these are innocent children/babies.

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