It’s a parent’s worst nightmare: you think you’ve dropped your child off at daycare, but actually you left them sitting in the backseat of the car. Tragically, this can–and does–result in deadly consequences. Last year, 263 children were killed in or around a car in a non accident scenario.
Great journalism draws attention to important issues, and this year, Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten has won a 2010 Pulitzer Prize for his story Fatal Distraction: Forgetting a Child in the Backseat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake. Is It a Crime?
Weingarten’s award-winning piece can be difficult to read because of the tragic subject matter, but still serves as a timely reminder of the dangers of leaving a child in the car, especially as temperatures begin to rise. As the article points out, the common reaction to media stories about children dying after being accidentally left in a car is one of empathy mixed with an “it could never happen to my baby” mentality, but sadly data from Kidsandcars.org shows the problem has increased consistently since the late 1990s.
Some parents may want to consider buying products like car seat monitors and key chain alarms which have been designed to help prevent kids from being forgotten in backseats.