(June 7) -- Last year, 60 children died across the country from being left in vehicles. The 7-month-old who died early this morning in Las Vegas puts this year's total at 6 so far.
Although many people wonder how anyone could leave their child in a car, it could be easier than some people think, says clinical psychologist Christopher Kearney : "It could happen to anybody really," Kearny says.
Daily routines become so ingrained that most of us do them without much conscious thought, but when our routines are changed, we can forget things. Even the things we hold most dear. Kearney explains, "if you take the same route to work everyday you might not even think about it, but if you stop off at a convenience store when you came out you'd have to think to yourself, "oh how do I get back on the road," and that interrupts your other automatic thought processes like I have to take the kids to daycare." The key, Kearney says is for parents to pay attention to even the little things.
Jody Esposito knows how important it is for parents to pay attention. Two years ago, she took her eyes off her five-year-old son for only a few seconds and he locked himself in the trunk of her car. "I found him approximately 10 to 15 minutes later, he was still alive but unfortunately he died 4 days later," says Esposito. She's now a spokesperson for the group Kids and Cars. Her goal is to get the word out to parents that taking your mind off of your child for even an instant could result in a lifetime of regret. A lesson another Las Vegas family learned first hand.
If you know your daily routine is going to change, one suggestion is to have your spouse call you at work to make sure you didn't forget to drop your kids off. Another suggestion, is to have your daycare provider call you anytime your children don't arrive at their scheduled time. But most importantly parents need to make sure they always pay close attention every time children are in the car.
Tips: Leave the diaper bag in the front seat so you see it when you're getting out of the car.
Put purse of briefcase in back seat, so you have to look in the back seat to get it.
Put a stuffed animal in the car seat and when you put the baby in the seat, the stuffed animal goes in the front seat, so when you see it you know the baby is in the back.