I Would Never Leave My Child in a Hot Car…
It’s Hot and People are Cranky
The Internet is no Place to let your “Perfect Parent” Judgement Fly
I read a lot and if you’re here you probably read a lot too. Particularly, those items related to children’s safety.
Last year it was all about “dry drowning” – watch your kid after he swims because if he’s lethargic he might die! Of course, you should watch your children, but dry drowning is not that subtle. However, did any of the click bait articles mention that? No.
This year we have a lot of eclipse articles. Only watch it this way. Only buy your glasses here. Did you buy them on Amazon? Those are fakes – try again. Nevermind, that ophthalmologist article on Facebook says just don’t do it. Oh, wait here’s another one from Astronomy Magazine that says go ahead and you can do it safely. Sigh.
Being an informed parent is necessary and hard. So, that’s why when I read an article from a Mom who made a horrible mistake and was trying to use that to remind people how to make their children safer I was appalled by the comments. The article is entitled, “I Would Never Forget My Child in a Hot Car…” and the gist is that she left her child in a hot car. There were obviously mitigating circumstances or else this article would have gotten a lot of different attention, but the facts are she did it, it was an accident, and here are her suggestions for making her kid and yours safer in case they too got into a similar situation.
Her suggestions for toddlers in the car are:
- Have your child practice opening the door handles,
- Teach them how the locks work,
- Teach them to honk the horn until help arrives,
- Teach them to find and push the button (if you have one) that open the back hatch,
- Teach them how to unbuckle the car seat harness – if they can’t do the whole thing then generally young children can at least undo the chest clip- work on that and how to wiggle out, if possible
You too at this point may be like many of her commenters and thinking, “I would never do that!” Hopefully, if that is all you have to add to the conversation then you are kind enough to keep it to yourself. The too real truth of the matter is that this happens. And, it’s not just something that happens to bad moms. 55% of children who have died from vehicular heatstroke in the US were unknowingly left and the overwhelming majority were left by a loving, responsible parent.
This comment thread had so many “Perfect Parents” who ridiculed her for even having children. And, honestly, since that type of knee-jerk vitriol is so common in these situations I’m going to just leave that there.
Many of the other parents were horrified she would teach her child to get out of his car seat. This one I was surprised by because I think it’s a great idea and it never occurred to me to try to teach my child to do this. Most of the parents in the camp used the excuse, “What if he gets out while you’re driving? Isn’t that more dangerous?”
I agree this could be a real issue but I can’t imagine it being one that would last very long with a consistent response to that behavior. Teaching your children the appropriate time to do that and open car doors (if you’re worried about them opening the doors while you’re driving most cars today have child locks that can be initiated on the back doors). So, yes, you may have to pull over a few times but children are smart and they will soon figure out they won’t get where we’re going until you have that seat belt on. It’s non-negotiable. Kids understand consistent rules. Or, if you really think you have that child then don’t teach them that part. Sheesh.
The Internet is not a personal playground to let loose the contempt you feel for others on unwitting strangers. The Internet breeds connection. It is literally the point of its existence. We all read articles about bullying and pledge to teach our children to be kind and empathetic while still being able to respectfully stick up for themselves, but when adults behave badly it is wrong.
If you wouldn’t say it to a friend you have no business saying it to a stranger. If your comment adds nothing to the discussion (and a statement of judgment does not) then why bother other than to make yourself feel better? And, if that’s what it takes to get your spirits up then you need some help or a hobby or some way to let that anger out. Spewing your self-righteousness doesn’t make for a good online community. I really hope your biggest mistake doesn’t come to light and if it does that you are treated with kindness and compassion.
As the song goes, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…”