Tips to Prevent Leaving your Child in the Back of a Car
A Montreal family is in mourning after a father forgot to drop off his 6-month old son at daycare, leaving him in the car the entire day. This tragedy marks the third such incident in Canada since the hotter weather began this year. Although many parents would like to believe this could never happen to them, experts say that forgetting a child in a hot car could happen to anyone.
In over 55% of these cases, according to kidsandcars.org, the person responsible for the child’s death unknowingly left them in the vehicle. In most situations this happens to the most loving, caring and protective parents.
Kidsandcars.org says there are scientific reasons as to why people can forget children in the car. There is a competing brain system. The front of the brain controls the proactive part telling you things like “I need to put the baby in the car” or “I need my computer for work”. The back of the brain goes into autopilot and can easily take over a parent’s thought processes. It can even create false memories where the parent believes he has dropped off the baby, as was the situation in Montreal. The fact is the father went back to the daycare to pick up his child, thinking the baby was there.
To prevent forgetting a child, Kidsandcars.org recommends having a system to remind you to look in the back seat. Some suggestions include:
- Open the back door immediately upon arrival
- Put something on the back seat like your phone, purse or lunch
- Put a needed item under child’s seat
- Keep a stuffed animal on the front seat to help recall that a child is in the back
- Have daycare call if child doesn’t arrive
It is recommended to place the car seat in the middle of the back seat. Kidsandcars.org is working hard at pushing for car manufacturers to include a warning system that will remind people to look in the back seat before they leave and lock up, similar to a car’s many other safety features.