How to avoid leaving children stranded in car

July 30, 2013 

According to articles in the Herald and on TV news, we have lost four children in Florida this year when they were accidently left in cars. I was lucky to have raised my children in a simpler time when they were in the car where I could see and hear them.

Every time I hear about one of these deaths, I have wished that either the auto companies or those who make car seats would incorporate a suitable alarm to prevent these tragedies. In the interim, I would like to suggest that parents and other caregivers use their cellphones to set reminders to ensure that their children are not forgotten in the car.

When the child is strapped in, the phone should be set for a reminder a few minutes longer than the anticipated duration of the trip. The reminder would alert a preoccupied person to think about the child.

At least two of the accidents this year happened when one person put the child in the car and another person drove the car. The person who places the child in the car should set a reminder as above. At the appropriate time, they could send a short text (or call) to the driver to remind them about the child.

At least one death occurred last year at a day care when a child was overlooked in a van. While I would not encourage people watching children to be distracted by their cellphones, they could use them to note the number of children entering the van, so they would not need to depend simply on their memories.

This may seem like a lot of trouble. However, many people are "plugged in" anyway, and these small additions might save someone the sadness of a lost child.

Judy P. Drake

Bradenton

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