My story did not have a tragic ending, but it could have. Here’s my story:
Saturday was a weird morning. My husband was working on installing a swing set for the kids. Me, my 14 year old daughter, her 14 year old best friend, and her mom (my best friend) all had a fitness thing going on downtown. We had to be there at 10:00AM. Typically, when I have the teen girls I have Peyton (DD5) with us or neither of them. This time, last minute, she wanted to stay home to help dad. She was already in the car sitting next to the teens. I agreed with my husband because then he could put up the fence without the baby under foot. Robert didn’t want to go. He was throwing a fit, but I buckled him in safely into his car seat.
Now there’s only room for 3 kids in the back seat. It was full. My bf was sitting in the passenger seat. We went to the fitness thing downtown. Robert had a great time also but was tired.
So after we left we decided to stop and get some frozen yogurt. It was about 11:45. They didn’t open until noon. I remembered I had to take care of a bill so we left to run by the bank. Account didn’t have as much as I thought it should have so I was distracted when I got back in the car. The teens were listening to music, being loud, and very goofy. Her mom was laughing at them. My mind… was on the bank account. Going over in my head what we’ve spent.
This is where things went very wrong. I was distracted. The kids were in their own world. The car was full of laughs. My mind was still on the money.
We got to the Frozen Yogurt place. Pulled in, got out. Made our own yogurt. Ate. Laughed about how it was funny that we were treating ourselves to this after a workout. Talked about how we wanted to do a 5K. You get the picture. In our own world… My mind was still on the money.
15-20 minutes go by. My husband sends me a picture of Peyton on her new swing set. I see the empty baby swing.. that’s when it hit me. My heart stopped. I gasped and then screamed at my best friend.. ROBERT…. We both took off running into the parking lot.
There he was. Sound asleep. Opened up the door and pulled him out. He was flushed a little. Sweating a little. Otherwise was completely fine. She’s a pediatric nurse and looked him over. No signs of distress. We brought him in, cooled him off with water and ice cream. My son is fine. THANK GOD.
I haven’t been that okay though. I have been beating myself up, bad. And I should. I have always said, I don’t understand how someone could leave their own baby. I didn’t get it. It upset me every time I saw it happen. I wondered WTH was wrong with those parents.
I’m here to tell you, it can happen. Just like that. Just so fast. Distractions happen.
I know you must think really bad of me right now. I’m okay with that, I deserve it and you can’t say anything to me that I haven’t said to myself.
HOWEVER, I’m writing this so I can tell you what I have done to help ensure this doesn’t happen again. I’m telling this to you because I don’t want anyone here to face this and the what COULD have happened. I got lucky. Very lucky.
4 people in that car got out and forgot he was there. 4!
I taped a post in note in the middle of my horn. Just a yellow post it note. It serves as a reminder to always look in the back seat of the car before I leave the car. I have ordered the window decal clings now as well.
I also got a baby mirror for my rear view mirror, so I can see him when he’s in the back seat.
And of course, there’s the putting the purse down by his feet on the floor when I buckle him in.
Please be careful with your babies this summer. I know.. ‘It will never happen to me.. I couldn’t ever forget him””… well, that’s what I said to myself before as well and here to tell you. It could happen to you. So while you’re thinking about it, find a reminder. Something small.. to remind you to look in the backseat when you are getting out of the car.
Please, don’t let this happen to your babies. With a few good habits, this tragedy can be completely preventable.
Written by: Robert’s Mommy