Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Avoiding the baby in car tragedy - the tethered parent

When I read of a parent who forgets their infant in car seat and leaves them to die in a hot car, I don't think "bad parent". I think "thank you random chance, there but for the odds go I".

I remember a young child asking me from his car seat why I'd missed the turn off for work. (This was a "special needs" child who's always had a knack for directions.) I'd forgotten he was there. Bad feeling.

About 20 American parents (mostly fathers I bet) make the ultimate mistake every year. Typically it's a change to an automatic routine, a chance request to drop a child in day care on the way to work. The infant falls asleep, the basal ganglia takes over, then tragedy.

My children are old enough that they can get out of the car. If they were in car seats though, I'd follow this advice when in the high risk situation of deviation from a common habit ...
Schneier on Security: Leaving Infants in the Car (comments)

... Secure a string to the car seat and yourself (belt, wrist, etc.). Leave plenty of slack so it doesn't interfere with driving, but if you try to exit the car and forget, the string will tug. Having to unclip the string will provide the reminder...

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