I left my baby in a car. Alone.

I left my baby in a car. Alone.

I just received this submission to be posted anonymously on my blog, in light of the recent deaths of three babies in Israel having been erroneously left in a car by their parents.

I was asked to post this anonymously, and I do so, but I think we can all relate. None of us are perfect, and these days our lives are so overscheduled that when there is a change in routine things get messed up. So please, no judging.

I left my baby in a car. Alone.
It happened to me. I never thought it possible.
I’m responsible. I have four children. I’ve never left any child anywhere, never forgotten where they were. My husband and I are caring, sensitive, NORMAL parents.
Then one fall day, my husband and I had a plan for our shopping trip. The babysitter was watching the kids riding their bikes. We came home early and decided to run to Costco. The baby, then about 10 months old, was up so we said we’d take her with us so our sitter could stay on the dead end street where the big kids were riding.
We installed the car seat, buckled up and were on our way.
We had just a few items to buy. We ran into the store and did our thing. We picked up sodas from the kiosk on the way out.
Approaching the car, it HIT ME.
When I opened the door, there she was, warm, calm. Totally okay. She wasn’t crying. Just looking around quietly. I forced her to drink some water, but she didn’t really care.
I was crying. There are no words to describe that feeling. Terrification. Fear. Relief. Shame.
Two “with-it”, responsible adults, and we both forgot she was with us!
Thankfully, the trip was short, the weather bearable. Thankfully no one noticed. More guilt. No one noticed. So we are safe. Seems entirely backwards. I couldn’t imagine life without my baby. Couldn’t imagine being indicted on endangering the welfare of a child. It’s a catch 22.
My 4 children need me, need us.
It was a mistake.
We basically decided never to speak of it to anyone. We are both guilty. We are both grateful.
I have learned an important lesson. Never think you are above error. Always plan ahead. Always check the car. The risk is too great, the shame too difficult to bear.
And that was with a positive outcome.

Please read this post on mindful parenting, on how to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.

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  1. Babelfish says:

    there should be an alarm when the door opens and the baby seatbelt is fastened.

    that would be the best solution…

  2. Rachel says:

    Something similar happened to a very good friend of mine and it freaked her out for months. One solution she came up with, was that she put a picture of her baby within her field of vision when leaving the car. It was such a traumatizing event.

  3. Yosefa says:

    This is my worst nightmare, and i don’t even have a car!
    I like the tips to leave your cell phone, purse, or briefcase in the back next to the baby.

  4. Tzvi Haber says:

    Years ago my wife and I sold a device with an alarm system that would ring of you left the car with the car seat buckled. I’m going to try to start it up again.

  5. Batya says:

    Seat belt alarm wouldn’t help, because most people keep the belt bucked onto the carseat.
    We live in an overworked overtired world. That’s the danger.
    Special sensors won’t work. They’ll go off when getting gas and just be turned off as annoyances.

    • tesyaa says:

      You’re correct. Back in the 70s my father had a car in which the ignition wouldn’t start unless the front passengers’ belts were buckled. It was a huge annoyance because the car often didn’t start even when we were fully buckled. We figured out different ways to get around it. In other words, it did not serve the intended purpose.

      I also agree about the overtired world.

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