As the weather begins to get warmer there is one thing that we all must begin to think about. It’s the worry of young children dying in hot cars. I just heard a story last week where a young boy died because his sister forgot that he was in the car. She was taking him to the daycare where she worked at. Every year there heartbreaking stories like this. Just last year approximately 39 kids died in hot cars last year.
I have older kids. My kids are 15 and soon to be 17. I have kept my nieces and nephews every now and then but they aren’t with me on consistent basis. Which makes me even more alert when they are in the car. Part of my job at my current job where I work at an after school program is I have to pick up children from school. When I started driving I was taken through the process of what’s called second check. The process is really simple and takes less than 5 minutes I have to verify each child by name on my list as they get on my van. When I get back to my job I have to verify each child as they get off. After that I get on my van and walk back checking each row of seats and then do the same when I walk back to the front. After I do that then a co-worker will get on the van and do the same thing. This lets us make sure the children haven’t forgotten anything but most importantly that no child has been left on the van.
I recently just found out how effective this was. The other day I picked up my routes like normal. Verified the children as they got on. When we got to the school I was verifying the children as they got off. I then counted the children. Went down my list again and I noticed a child who I had counted had not got off the van. I quickly looked at my line of kids and didn’t see the child. My co-worker got on the van to do her check (sometimes the co-worker checks first and then me). She walked to the back of the van and the child had fallen asleep while I was driving. Even though we found the child I got on the van and did my check anyway. She and I looked at each other and breathed a sigh of relief because without us doing that the child could have easily been in danger. Everything worked out because of this.
I share this story to say. Please, please be sure to do everything you can to ensure the safety of children. Here are a few tips:
- Set a reminder in your phone that will go off maybe every 5 minutes that will remind you that a child is in the car.
- Get a rear view mirror that will put the child in your view. There is even one that you can put in front of the child’s face. My husband had one when our kids were little.
- Have someone call and remind you that the child is in the car. Especially if you don’t normally have children in the car.
- Put something of value like your purse, shoe, laptop, coat, or anything that you will have to retrieve when you get to your destination.
- Have someone you know go out and check your car.
- You can even write a post it and put it on your dashboard.
- Start doing things that will remind you that you are going to have the child in advance.
All these tips are basically to make sure children are safe. Sometimes things happen but if you do everything possible you can save your child’s life. These tips are especially helpful for people who are not used to having small children with them often. I just wanted to share a friendly reminder as the days get hotter.