At this point, only God knows what was going on in the mind of the Atlanta father who left his 1-year-old son in the car to die from the heat. Was it accidental or intentional?
This I do know: the combination of rear-facing car seats in the back seat, a sleeping child, and a million things on the driver's brain is a recipe for disaster.
ACCIDENTAL hot car deaths involving parents who mistakenly leave their infants to die in the car are all too common and THERE ARE THINGS PARENTS CAN DO TO MAKE SURE THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN TO THEM.
Click here to watch the short segment with life-saving tips. Remember this is not just for parents, but also grandparents, baby-sitters, anyone who drives children.
Two years ago I interviewed a couple who mistakenly left their sleeping child in the back seat of the car, where she died.
I also interviewed a psychologist who explained how easy it is to do such a thing, mainly because our brains can only hold a small amount of items in our short-term memory, and without a trigger, such a crying baby, or a visual cue, such as the baby in the seat next to you, it's easy to forget.
Many people find this outrageous. That no caring parent would ever forget a sleeping child in the back seat of a car.
I beg to differ.
Since the time I reported on the tragedy of children left to die in hot cars, I've noticed in the news many more instances of this horrific tragedy. They usually always sound the same...on the way to daycare, but forget to go to daycare and instead drive straight to work, because the baby was asleep and out of sight, parent reports to work as usual and discover baby upon returning to the car at lunch or at the end of the work day.
Although by the grace of God I have never forgotten my sleeping child in a hot car, I can admit to driving to a place that was not my intended destination. For example, I have, on occasion, meant to make a certain stop, such as the post office or a store, on my way to work, but once in the car I forgot to make that stop, and instead, out of habit, drove straight to work since that's usually what I do when I leave home and get behind the wheel. Some people joke that their car "automatically goes to work," and I think we all know that feeling.
People might say, yes, but the Atlanta hot car death is different from most, because the parents were searching hot car deaths on the Internet before the child's demise. I'm not so sure that means they were planning to murder their child. However, one would think after those searches they'd be more careful about not allowing their child to be left in a hot car, though.
We'll have to see how this particular case plays out. But in the meantime, anyone who drives youngsters in their car should put safety measures in place, such as the ones described in the link above, to make sure no more children are mistakenly left to die in hot cars.