My husband and I have 3 sons, and after 8 years I convinced him to try once more for the little girl I knew I was meant to have. Kayin (which means long awaited daughter) was born September 15, 2011 and I couldn't have been happier.
One day while at the doctors office I read an article about a mom who accidentally left her child in the car and he died. This terrified me because the week before I had forgotten to drop Kayin off on my way to work, but when I looked in the mirror I saw her car seat and realized I had forgotten her. After I read the article I started to follow the advice in it such as leaving my work bag in the back seat so that I had to reach back there to get it. I also talked to my husband about making sure to check in with daycare when he wasn't going to take Kayin there so that if she didn't show up it would prompt a call by the babysitter. Since I work rotating days she wasn't always there on a regular schedule. I also asked him to move her car seat to the middle of his truck, instead of placing it right behind him.
The end of June I had just returned from working a 48 hour ER shift (I am a Nurse Practitioner). I had been sick all weekend and Monday morning I decided to stay home and sleep. I asked my husband (who is an RN) if he would drop Kayin off, which is something he rarely did. At 2:30 I called him at work to see if he would get off in time to pick her up and he said that he would be able to. Later that day he called me on his way home to say that he was on his way to get Kayin.
After he hung up the phone he heard her talking in the backseat. Nobody in the parking lot heard her cry and she was there for 8 hours.
Telling me what he had done was probably the hardest thing he has ever had to do. We took her to the hospital and as a precaution she was flown to a bigger hospital with a PICU. We were so lucky, the next morning she was discharged and had suffered no more than a little dehydration.
This story just goes to show that you can never be too careful, too prepared or have too many safety nets. We were aware of kids dying in cars, we took precautions and still it happened to us. My husband was out of his routine and drove right past the daycare. Once at work he had an emergency and was so busy the rest of the day it never occurred to him that he had not dropped her off, even when I called and asked about her.
I can't imagine the pain of parents that have not had as fortunate of an outcome as we have. My heart breaks for them and when I think about what could have happened I get sick to my stomach.
We have had some negative comments from people in our community who can't understand how you can forget your child in the car and we have heard a lot of stories from other parents who did the same thing but remembered or saw their child before they went in to work. It happens more than we know because it doesn't always end in tragedy.
We are still waiting to hear from our county attorney to know if there will be charges pressed. I understand making laws to keep parents from deliberately leaving their children in the car, but that doesn't help the parents that forget and it seems that most of the cases of children dying in hot cars are unintentional.
I hope that telling our story makes parents realize it can happen to them and they can never be too careful. I will use my position as a Nurse Practitioner to educate parents as often as I can.
If even one child can be saved it is worth the ridicule of the people who think this could never happen to them.
- Kayin’s Mom