Never leave your child alone

Dayton Children’s new mommy safety blogger, Jessica Saunders

Last year heat stroke from being left alone in a car claimed the lives of 49 children, three of which were in Ohio. Between 1998 and 2010, over 494 children nationwide died from this completely preventable but life-threatening situation. This problem was at its all-time worst last year, and the U.S. has already seen its first heat stroke deaths this year in Texas and Louisiana.

These devastating situations make me think – what were these parents or caregivers thinking?

However, I can see how it can happen.  I’m busy in the mornings – sometimes I’m not thinking clearly as a new mom that didn’t quite get enough sleep – or I’m already thinking about the tasks I need to complete during the day.  The thought of forgetting Mary is extremely scary – and because I’m aware of how many children are accidentally “forgotten” every year I have built in some items to my routine to make sure I never forget!

Here are some items to include in your routine to prevent this needless tragedy:

  • Place belongings strategically such as a cell phone, PDA, purse, briefcase, gym bag or whatever is to be carried from the car on the floor in front of a child in a backseat. This forces the adult to open the back door and observe the child when they reach for their belongings.
  • Set your cell phone or Blackberry reminder to be sure you dropped your child off at day care.
  • Set your computer “Outlook” program to ask, “Did you drop off at daycare today?”
  • Have a plan that if your child is late for daycare that you will be called within a few minutes. Be especially careful if you change your routine for dropping off children at day care.

Over the next few weeks, Safe Kids Greater Dayton will be launching our Never Leave Your Child Alone campaign hoping to prevent these horrible occurrences – we hope you will share this message with your friends and family!

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.

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