Any parent can forget a child in a hot car; here's how to prevent it
A father in Bend, Oregon, is being cited for child neglect after leaving his baby in a car. Bend police responded to a call that there was a baby in a hot car all alone in a Home Depot parking lot, and although many parents think they would never forget their child in a car, health experts say it could happen to anyone.
“This happens to the best of parents, the most vigilant parents,” said Kathleen Clary-Cooke, Safe Kids Benton-Franklin coordinator. “It usually happens when somebody is out of their routine. If anybody has ever walked into a room and forgotten what they went in there for, it's the same part of our brain.”
There have been 16 child deaths this year because of heat stroke in cars--that's doubled from 2015.
“It's hard to imagine ever being in a situation where I wouldn't have my kids with me,” said Arianna Francis, Kennewick mother of three.
So how can parents protect their little ones? Constant reminders—like putting something in your back seat so you have to look every time you leave your car.
“Your purse, your cell phone, your backpack, your diaper bag,” Clary-Cooke suggests. “Your left shoe. I promise you when you when you get out of the vehicle and your foot hits that hot pavement, you are going to open that back door.
Or tell your daycare provider or babysitter to always call you when you are running late, no matter what. And if you see a child in a car, call 911 immediately.
“Don't look around for the parents,” Clary-Cooke said. “Don't go into a store and try to have people paged. Call 911 right that moment.”
She says they will tell you if they need you to break in.
Officials also say it's a good idea to carry a portable window breaker, which allows you break glass if you see a child trapped. Just remember to always break the glass that's furthest from where the child is sitting.
A child's body heats up much faster than adults, and just 107 degrees can be fatal to a child. On a hot day like today, the car surpassed 120 degrees in a matter of minutes.
“It's definitely a possibility and something to always be concerned or aware of where your child is,” Francis said.