To those who believe they could never unknowingly leave their child behind…
Many years ago I believed the same way you do. How could a loving parent be so stupid as to forget the one thing they love the most? Then it happened to me. You don’t hear stories like mine as often because my child didn’t die. She was only left for a few minutes and it wasn’t hot or even very cold outside. But the only difference between me and the “monsters” whose children died is circumstance.
I am taking the time to tell my story to you and you can think what you want about me after you read it but I am hoping it will save you from every doing the same thing I did. You see what all the parents do have in common is they never thought it could happen to them. So the best way to prevent is it is for people to understand that it really can happen. I don’t mind embarrassing myself if it helps to save a life.
My story happens much like these other parents. There was a change in schedule and a change in placement of the car seat. I used to drive a huge conversion van. My husband called and he was running late so instead of being home in time to watch the baby I would need to take her with me to drop the boys off at cub scouts. I debated leaving her home with my 16 year old son as it was almost her bed time but after going back and forth decided to take her with me. I placed her car seat behind my seat because conversion vans only have one door and the boys would need to get in and out without bumping into her seat. I was now running late after taking so much time to debate if she was to go with us and waiting on my husband that I thought was coming home soon.
My mind was frantically thinking of everything I needed to do when I got home. After picking up all the boys in the neighborhood I drove the 20 minutes to the church to drop them off. The van was noisy with all the little boys chattering about what they were going to do at scouts. The baby still fell asleep with all the noise and when I dropped the boys off it was finally oh so quiet.
My mind once again raced with what I needed to do before bedtime. Then I drove by our association club house and noticed all the cars in the parking lot. It was then I remembered I was going to attend a meeting about them raising our association dues and how I was going to attend the meeting to say how unfair it was. I parked and hopped out of the car to run into the meeting.
Never once did I think about the baby in the car. In my mind she was home in bed were she always was when I took the boys to scouts. I would have never left her in the car if I remembered she was in there. I ran into the meeting but it was so crowded with lots of yelling and screaming. I don’t like confrontation so I decided to just go home.
When I walked up to the van I noticed her car seat in the big van window. I hurried and opened the door to find her peacefully sleeping. She was probably alone for maybe 7 minutes tops. I dropped to my knees and begin to bawl. I was one of those monsters. I was one of those parents who let myself become so distracted that I forgot I even had the bay with me. I called my husband and sobbed. I couldn’t even drive home for about 45 minutes because I was crying so hard.
To this day I cry when I tell my story and my child is fine. It’s hard for me to tell my story because I want people to like me. I want people to think I am a good parent. Until it happened to me I would have never thought it was possible to think your child was somewhere else when they were actually in the car.
My daughter is a healthy 12 year old girl now. But my first grandbaby is due in April and I have promised myself I will always check my backseat before leaving my vehicle. I beg everyone I meet to do the same. Just because it has never happened to you doesn’t mean it can’t. Please believe it can happen to everyone because that’s the only way it will ever stop happening. Or you can be like me and just believe those it happens to are heartless idiots until it happens to you or someone you love 🙁