Please, Please, Please: Do Not Leave Your Children In Hot, Locked Cars

If it sounds like we’re begging, it’s because we are: Every summer as the hot weather approaches, it’s always a good idea to reissue the plea to parents and other caretakers to please, please, not leave children locked in cars with the windows up. You shouldn’t be leaving your children anywhere unattended, but it’s especially dangerous in these summertime situations.

This year’s reminder comes on the heels of a recent tragedy in Atlanta, where a 22-month-old toddler died this week after reportedly being forgotten in a hot car for more than eight hours, reports WFSB.com.

Police said the man was supposed to drop his child off at daycare, but forgot, and instead drove to work at 9 a.m. yesterday morning and left the child in the backseat. When he started driving home later that day, he noticed his kid still strapped into the car seat and unresponsive.

A witness said he saw the man drive into a parking lot, jump out and begin CPR on the toddler.

“He was constantly saying, ‘What have I done, what have I done,'” the witness told the news station.

By then it was too late, however. Police have now charged the man with murder and cruelty to children in the first degree, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

While temperatures in Atlanta topped 90 degrees on Wednesday, the temperature inside the car could go as high as 130 to 140 degrees in just a few hours. Even with a window or two cracked, it still isn’t safe.

Once again, some tips from Consumer Reports to ensure against any chance of forgetting your child in the car:

• Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, not even for a minute. In addition to being dangerous, it is the law in many states.
• Check the car to make sure that all occupants leave the vehicle or are carried out when unloading. If you lock the door with a key, rather than with a remote, it would force that one last look in the car before leaving it.
• Always lock your car and keep keys and remotes away from children.
• Keep a stuffed animal in the front passenger seat as a reminder of a child in the backseat.
• Place something in the backseat that you would need, such as a purse, briefcase or cell phone.
• Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up.
• If you see a child alone in a car, especially if they seem hot, call 911 immediately to help get them out.

Toddler dies after being left in hot car for 8 hours [WFSB.com]
Father charged with murder in toddler’s death [The Atlanta Journal Constitution]

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  1. furiousd says:

    I think it’s a tragic enough situation without charging a grieving parent as though he’d intentionally murdered his child

    • C0Y0TY says:

      Negligence is as bad as intention. The result is the same, and charging for negligence is as much a disincentive for others who might do the same. Charging a parent for fatally forgetting a child will make others think twice and that second thought can save a child.

      • charmander says:

        I don’t know. The fact that you are the reason that your child died is probably the biggest punishment in itself. What would be gained by charging the parent?

        • C0Y0TY says:

          The gain would be the potential next parents would take the consequences more seriously. Sad to say, some people are more concerned about themselves than their kids, and are more likely to check on their kids if they know they they have to pay the consequences personally besides receiving the condolences for their kids. Sadder to say, some parents will intentionally hurt their kids and pass it off as accidental in order to get sympathy, and charges of manslaughter discourage that.

          • charmander says:

            Since they didn’t do it on purpose – it was an accident -, your reasoning makes no sense.

  2. Snarkapus says:

    “Place something in the backseat that you would need, such as a purse, briefcase or cell phone.”

    In other words, to their twisted minds a cell phone is less of an afterthought than a child. Right…….

    • charmander says:

      If it helps them to remember to check the backseat of the car, then it is good advice. I can’t imagine forgetting my child, but apparently some people do.

    • Seli says:

      This kind of thing often has to do with a diversion from the parent’s usual routine. Habit can be a powerful thing. You get going on the road to the daycare, which is also the same way you go to work, and autopilot just takes over driving straight to work. Then you do your usual check as you get out of the car to go into the office.. laptop, purse, phone, check. In you go! When you have something unusual that needs to be done before you get to work, changing your WHOLE routine is generally a good idea to make sure nothing gets forgotten.

      It can happen to anyone, even smart, good, attentive parents. The Pulitzer-prize winning article that SingleMaltGeek linked to below is a really, really good read about the phenomenon.

  3. SingleMaltGeek says: