A parenting tip from your host

This post comes courtesy of a series of tragic events that happened here in Memphis and nearby very recently. Since I have no idea how long that article will be reachable, here’s a small chunk of it.

A 15-month-old boy died Wednesday after he was left inside a sweltering truck in Lauderdale County, Tenn.

The child was found unresponsive around 2 p.m. by his mother, who had left him inside a parked sport utility vehicle when she went to a neighbor’s home to drop off a package, Lauderdale County officials said.

“She said she left the air running and was gone 15 to 20 minutes but when she came out the air was blowing hot and her baby was hot and sweating and wouldn’t wake up,” said Lauderdale County Investigator Clay Newman. “She called 911 and the child was rushed to the hospital.”

That’s tragic, and an event I would never want to have happen to any parent.  But unfortunately, this happens far too often.  So here’s my little parenting tip of the day – never leave your child in the car alone.  I know it’s tempting to just “run in for a second” to do something.  Even planned brief trips can run longer.

It frustrates my wife that I won’t stop at a convenience store and leave the kids in my Jeep while I run in to just grab a gallon of milk.  I’ll make them get out with me, which of course means I have to corral them while inside and then get them back in a buckled in their seats again.  But by taking 3 extra minutes on my trip to do this, I make sure that if someone picks my Jeep as the break-a-window-and-drive-away target of the day, they get the Jeep and all my crap inside, but not my children.  My wife calls me a melodramatic paranoid, but I’d rather be that than a childless middle-aged idiot who is facing reckless endangerment charges for leaving the kids.  The same holds true when I stop at someone’s house to drop something off – the kids go where I go, rather than staying in the car.  That way, if the 30 second drop-off turns into a social visit (ignoring for the moment my tendency to not be social) that lasts half an hour, I won’t come back out to the child I forgot about sitting in a 106 degree car not breathing.

So please, people, practice the simple move of never leaving your child in the car alone.  It makes them safer, and you less likely to forget them and end up the parent talked about in a tragic tale in the papers.

[tags]Parenting tip of the day[/tags]