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How much is an investment in safety worth?

Because, even though you think you wouldn't leave an infant or a toddler locked in a car, it has already happened to 15 families. Tragically, 15 babies have died of hyperthermia in 2009 after being left in a car. An Ellicott City family's 23-month-old daughter died last week after she was locked in a car for nine hours.

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I don't think any of the parents or caregivers would ever say they intended to do it. Safety experts and advocates say people get distracted and make a mistake.

Kids and Cars, a group which advocates for prevention of non-traffic related injuries to children by cars, has frightening statistics that lay out a pretty clear correlation about why it happens, though. After rules banned children riding in the front due to airbag injuries, deaths due to hyperthermia grew.

What does it take to prevent calamities such as these? Acknowledgment that it's possible, as Dr. Laura Jana, an Omaha-based pediatrician who speaks about injury prevention for the American Academy of Pediatrics, said:

The pediatrician pointed out that we create failsafe measures to prevent ourselves from forgetting other important tasks. You wouldn't lock your car doors without checking to see if you have your car keys first ... so don't walk away from your car without looking at the front and back seat.

Parents could also leave a a reminder in the front seat to alert them that the child is present (diaper bag makes sense to me) or they could leave their purse or briefcase in the backseat to remind themselves to go back there, she said.

It's a no-brainer to advocate for these types of precautions ...

... because, frankly, they don't cost any money, unlike a back-up camera for an SUV or minivan that costs $500, Jana said. But thousands of kids die every year when drivers back up over them, according to Kids and Cars. Even car seats can cost a lot, too, especially if you have multiple small chlldren.

It's hard enough to convince people to wear seat belts, when they justify such risky behavior by saying they will drive carefully, that they're only going a short distance, that it couldn't happen to them.

But, it does. So: walk around your car before getting in to ensure you won't run anything over. And check the backseat before you leave to make sure you haven't left a kid.

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