The Washington Post Magazine had a haunting story this week by Gene Weingarten on parents who forget their children in the car — dispelling the myth that this horrific mistake can only happen to ‘bad’ parents. Here are some tips parents and caregivers can follow to avoid this hazard. For more on safety of children in and around cars, visit Kids And Cars. This advocacy group is encouraging car and car seat makers to develop technological solutions to the problem as well, such as an alarm that sounds when it detects weight in a car seat with the engine turned off.

  • Put something you’ll need like your cell phone, handbag, lunch or brief case on the floor in the back seat. Get in the habit of always opening the back door of your vehicle every time you reach your destination to make sure no child has been left behind. This way it will become a habit. Kids And Cars calls this the Look — then lock campaign
  • Keep a large teddy bear in the child’s car seat when it’s not occupied. When the child is placed in the seat, put the teddy bear in the front passenger seat as a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.
  • Make arrangements with your child’s day care center or babysitter that you will always call them if your child will not be there on a particular day as scheduled. Ask them to phone you if your child doesn’t show up when expected. Give child care providers all your telephone numbers, including that of an extra family member or friend, so they can always confirm the whereabouts of your child.
  • If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. If they are hot or seem sick, get them out as quickly as possible. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.