How to Avoid a Hot-Car Tragedy
- First and foremost, always put your cell phone, purse, or briefcase, and anything else you'll need that day, on the floor of the backseat. When you retrieve it at the end of the ride, you'll notice your child.
- Seat your younger (or quieter) child behind the front passenger seat, where he's most likely to catch your eye. Parks's, Balfour's, and Edwards's babies all were behind the driver's side when they died.
- Keep a teddy bear or other stuffed animal in the car seat when it's empty. When you put your child in the seat, move the animal to the front passenger seat, to remind you that your baby's on board.
- Ask your child's babysitter or daycare provider to always phone you promptly if your child isn't dropped off as scheduled.
- Make a habit of always opening the back door of your car after you park, to check that there's no kid back there.
- Never assume someone else -- a spouse, an older child -- has taken a young kid out of her seat. Such miscommunication has led to more than a few hot-car deaths.
- Put visual cues in your office and home. Static-cling decals reminding you to check the car seat are available at Emmasinspirations.com and Kidsandcars.org.
Melissa Balmain, a Parenting contributing editor, is a mother of two in Blacksburg, VA.