By Carrie Dotson
Whether you’re running into a convenience store to pay for your gasoline or stepping away for a moment while your child is strapped snugly into her car seat, it’s never safe to leave your child alone in a vehicle. Regardless of the circumstances, your child simply is not safe in the car alone. Here are 10 of the reasons why you should think twice before leaving your little one unattended in a vehicle.
- Temperature Concerns – Because kids’ bodies are different from those of their adult counterparts, even relatively mild temperatures can become unbearable for a child in a vehicle. There’s a reason why news outlets flood their followers with advice to never leave a child in the car during the summer months. According to kidsandcars.org, an average of 38 children per year die because of heat-related deaths.
- Potential Car Theft – It may not be common for cars to be stolen with children inside them, but that doesn’t mean it never happens. Making sure that you’re never a fluke statistic on a list is often as simple as taking your child with you each and every time you get out of the car. Remember that a car is replaceable, but your little one is not.
- Stranger Danger – The likelihood of a child being kidnapped by a stranger is far lower than his chances of being snatched by someone he knows and trusts, but stranger abductions do happen. If a car door is all that’s standing between your child and a potential kidnapper, the odds may not be in your favor.
- Legal Issues – In many states, the act of leaving your child in the car is illegal. You may be charged with counts of child neglect or abuse, even if your intentions are good. Rather than taking the risk of criminal charges or even the loss of your children, make the wise choice and take them in with you when you leave the car.
- The Danger of a Rolling Car – A child who can climb out of his car seat can also knock the car into gear inadvertently, causing it to roll away. A child that’s not left in the car unattended, however, doesn’t face that risk.
- Suffocation Risks – If your car has backseat access to the trunk, inquisitive kids can make their way into the trunk and accidentally become trapped, running the risk of suffocation or severe injury.
- Causing Your Child to Feel Fear – Even if he never touches a gear shift and is never confronted by a stranger or left to suffer extreme temperatures, your child may still be frightened and feel abandoned when he’s left in the car alone.
- Strangulation Concerns – When a young toddler is learning to escape from his car seat and harness, he may try several methods before he finds the one that works. He may also become entangled in the very harness that’s meant to keep him safe, putting his safety in grave danger.
- Your Child Can Wander Away – Older kids may think that they’re looking for you or simply exploring their surroundings, when their undeveloped sense of direction is actually leading them away from you and everything familiar. Making the decision not to leave your little one in the car alone will eliminate his urge to go looking for you, and can keep him from getting lost in the process.
- The Inherent Risks That Threaten Unsupervised Children – Every parent knows that kids are intensely creative when it comes to finding new and potentially dangerous activities. Your child can injure himself in ways that neither of you have ever imagined when there’s no one there to watch him, so it’s important that you never leave him in the car without supervision.
Taking your child out of a complicated harness and juggling him while trying to complete a task as quick and simple as paying for fuel or grabbing a single item from the store may seem like a waste of time an energy, but there are simply too many things that can go wrong when a child is left in the car alone. A decision made in the blink of an eye can change your life forever, so be sure that you’re always aware of the risks you face when you leave a little one in a vehicle without supervision and don’t do it.
All too often we hear of incidents such as this, where a child dies from being left unattended in a car, especially during hot weather. Take the time to unhook the child from the car seat and take him with you, regardless of how quickly you plan to be inside the building. Please, also, consider not leaving animals in cars when you have errands to do that cause you to leave the vehicle. Pat