All it takes is a change in your normal routine, a tiny distraction, a hectic schedule and suddenly tragedy strikes. In an instant a loving parent can be mourning the loss of their child who they accidentally left in a hot vehicle. It can happen to anyone. If you are worried, as I am, that this could happen to you--you might want to check out these devices designed to alert you when you leave your child in the car.

Last week eight children died in hot vehicles within a seven day period, raising the total number of children to die in hot vehicles to at least 24 that we know of at this time. The U.S. Government has initiated the "Look Before You Lock" advertising campaign in an effort to thwart additional heat related deaths.

How hot is it? It can be hot enough to kill, if a child is left in a closed car even a short time. It may be tempting to, for instance, let the baby sleep while you run into the store. However, at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families, Linda Smith warns:

“Even on a relatively mild day, temperatures rise quickly in a closed vehicle. The windows act like a greenhouse, trapping the heat inside, and within 10 minutes can reach life-threatening temperatures.”

Smith says it can be deadly hot in 10 minutes even if the outside temperature is only 80 degrees. And she says children under 4 are most at risk.

Her agency reminds people, including day care providers, to be sure they have all the kids out of the vehicle. The slogan:  Look Before You Lock.

Prevention Tips from safecar.com:

► Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
► Do not let your children play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them that a vehicle is not a play area.
► Never leave infants or children in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially open.
► Keep a large teddy bear or other stuffed animal in the car seat when it's empty. Move the teddy bear to the front seat when you place the child in the seat as a visual reminder.
► Make a habit of looking in the vehicle - front and back - before locking the door and walking away.
► If you are dropping your child off at childcare, and normally it's your spouse or partner who drops them off, have your spouse or partner call you to make sure the drop went according to plan.

For years it has been a prominent fear that I might one day forget a child in my car. I am a very forgetful person. I can't tell you how many times I've arrived in my driveway at the end of a long day and it seems as if had been driving on autopilot, as if I was just lost in my thoughts, distracted for the entire ride home. Some mornings I drop my eight month old daughter off for my father-in-law to watch her while I'm at work and some mornings my husband does, our schedules are always changing, which adds to my worry that one of us could forget her in the backseat. If you are anything like me, or heck, maybe you are very organized and would still like extra piece of mind, there is at least one device on the market designed to alert you when a child is being left in the car.

Here are a couple you might want to check out:

 

ChildMinder Alert System - This product is $70 and has become very popular, so much so that it is currently on back order for three weeks.

Using a seat buckle with a wireless transmitter which fastens over your child’s existing seat strap, the device activates when the buckle is engaged and turns off when the buckle is opened.

The driver carries a key chain receiver. If the key chain receiver is more than 10 feet from the vehicle with the child’s buckle still engaged, the key ring sounds an alarm.

After tragedy struck a Shreveport family yesterday, I have decided to finally place my order for this device.  Marketed by Baby Alert International, there are also many other child safety devices on their website.

 

 

The Halo Baby Safety Seat System by Sisters of Invention is available for pre-order and expected to cost $150. (I wish it was available right now). This device utilizes a pressure activated pad that is placed under the child’s seat cushion. The alarm on a special key pod (key chain) is activated when a parent walks 20 feet from the vehicle with the baby still in his seat. The alarm will also sound if the temperature inside the vehicle "becomes dangerous for the baby".  The alarm will sound and get louder progressing to an alert stating "Baby in danger!" as needed until the driver, parent, or passerby responds.

 

A final note: How do we have cars that can practically park themselves, yet child car seat/heat safety devices are having such a hard time making it to the consumer? In 2002 NASA designed a great device that could cost in the $20-$30 range if it could actually make it through the necessary pathways to shelves in our stores. It would be even better if  car seat manufacturers started designing their seats with safety devices built in.