The viral spread of a simple piece of advice highlights the deep-rooted anxiety many parents share over the preventable tragedy of children succumbing to heatstroke in hot cars. This pervasive concern stems from instances where a child is unintentionally left in a vehicle. Recognizing this, various measures have been proposed as help for parents to never forget a child in a hot vehicle, thus aiming to eliminate these heartbreaking incidents.
Grandmother Kristy Wilson demonstrates how she can drive with just one sandal in a video that has gone viral on TikTok. After that, she pulls over to a parking spot and then walks back to the car’s rear seat, where her infant grandchild is waiting in a car seat. As soon as she opens the rear door, her left shoe, which had been sitting under his chair, drops to the ground.
Why am I getting behind the wheel with only one shoe on? The video of the grandmother starts playing. “I left my shoe in the back of the car because I’m driving with my newborn grandchild and I’d rather deal with the scorching pavement than leave my grandchild in the vehicle.”
This was the furious outcry that followed the TikTok grandma video. People angrily criticized Wilson’s method as the crutch of a negligent grandparent for not remembering to put her young grandson in the backseat of the car. Along with worries about the safety of driving barefoot (despite being legal, Geico warns that doing so may prevent you from applying enough pressure to clutch the pedal or engage the brakes), users vehemently opposed Wilson’s plan as an illustration of a negligent caregiver.
One of the comments says, “How is it possible to forget your child? Some people aren’t meant to be parents, so if you find it easy to forget your child, you probably shouldn’t have one,” which is a pun on the phrase “how can someone forget their child.” Another user commented that you shouldn’t be watching him at all if you can’t recall having him in the rear. This was in response to an earlier statement.
Yet they are dead wrong: deaths that occur in hot cars are a tragedy that can be avoided, and it is one that can practically happen to anyone. The prevalence of viral avoidance methods demonstrates the extent to which many parents are petrified of leaving their children unattended in a vehicle.
The Real Story Behind Child Passenger Vehicle Heatstroke
About 38 children die each year as a result of being left in hot cars, according to the website noheatstroke.org, which tracks the frequency of “pediatric vehicular heatstroke” cases in the United States. Even in weather that is only somewhat warm or when the sun is directly overhead, cars can quickly become dangerously hot, and the small bodies of children are especially susceptible to overheating. According to The New York Times, the prevalence of these fatalities increased throughout the 1990s, coinciding with the rise in the number of safety guidelines that advised parents to place their children in car seats that faced the rear of the vehicle.
It has been discovered that accidents caused the bulk of these fatalities. Fifty-three percent of the time, the children were forgotten in the automobile. The children themselves were responsible for their own entrapment in the vehicle in another 26% of the incidents. Fewer than one in five deaths were the result of deliberate acts.
Often, a parent or caregiver will often believe that they have brought their child home from daycare or inside the house, while in reality, they have not. When the infant is dozing off in the back, and the driver is going on a predictable schedule, like leaving for work right after dropping the child off at daycare in the morning, this mental slip-up is more likely to happen. This is because the driver’s mind is more likely to be preoccupied with the routine than with the baby. It is also more likely to occur when the caregiver is exhausted or under a lot of stress.
The tales are heartbreaking in the following ways: During his shift at a hospital in 2019, a man forgot about his twin infant children who were riding in the backseat of his automobile. It wasn’t until he was driving home that he realized what had transpired. In 2016, a police officer in the upstate region of New York was tending to household responsibilities when his son, who had been left unattended in the car, passed away from heatstroke. Following the occurrence of occurrences of this nature, parents are susceptible to a wide range of criminal accusations, some of which can be contentious.
Putting an End to Deaths Caused by Hot Cars
Some technological fixes can be applied to the issue. Since 2016, General Motors has equipped several of its automobiles with what it calls “Rear Seat Reminder” technology and other automakers have since followed suit. Alarms that may be attached to a car seat are another option for caregivers, and some car seats even come equipped with their own built-in alarms. Congress has twice defeated the Hot Car Act of 2019, which would have required all automobiles to have child safety locks installed.
Because of this, our only option is to resort to parental hacks, of which there are numerous. When transporting a little passenger, some caretakers fasten stuffed animals to the seat belts of their passenger seats. Some people put their purses in the rear seat, forcing them to inspect the surrounding environment before continuing their day. Much like Wilson’s hack for TikTok, the objective is to make it impossible to get out of the car without remembering to bring the baby with you. The use of a shoe is unquestionably excessive, yet the method’s efficiency is not denied.
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