Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The unthinkable

Remember the first time you left the house by yourself, after your child was born? The whole time in the car it felt so odd, not having a little creature in the car seat.

It's just weird, because 99.9 percent of the time, you have a tiny passenger. A baby, facing backwards so you can't see the face. But you know by the silence that he's been - finally - lulled to sleep.

It seems unthinkable - impossible - that you could ever forget he's back there. Unfortunately, it happens.

There's an incredibly sad story in Broadsheet, about a little four month-old up in Northern Cal whose father forgot to drop him off at daycare. The boy's mother realized he wasn't at daycare when she went to pick him up. She instead found him, secured in his carseat, in the father's car in the parking lot for the BART.


The Broadsheet story also links to another article about a mother who, for the first time, talks about leaving her 10 month-old daughter in her carseat. It's incredibly touching and devastating at the same time.

I can't imagine how you ever get over that. These parents were doting, loved their child, were by all accounts good parents. So how does this happen? How do we forget about the most valuable thing we have? It seems inconceivable, and yet, it happens about two dozen times a year, according to the Broadsheet story.

There is no answer, other than being distracted, overloaded.

Most important is how to prevent it. An alarm if the driver leaves the car and weight remains in the car seat? It's a possibility.

As my husband points out, maybe it's not such a bad thing that our baby cries whenever we stop the car (hence, the crazy rocking dance our SUV does at every red light).

It is much better than silence.

1 comment:

JenC said...

This happened in Cincinnati too. A school administrator forgot her 2 year old was in the backseat. After a day in the heat, she died.

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