Every year as the temperatures begin to climb, news breaks that a child has died after being left alone in a hot car.
On average, approximately 37 children die each year inside of a hot car. According to safety organization Kids and Cars, these deaths often occur because a child was accidentally left unattended, locked themselves inside of a vehicle or on the rare occasion, was left intentionally inside the vehicle alone.
It’s both every parent’s nightmare and something that leaves people puzzled. How could anyone forget they left their child in the car?
One mother is warning parents just how easy it is for children to be trapped inside of vehicles after experiencing a close call with her three-year-old son.
In a recent blog post shared on the site Love What Matters, Amy Amos, from Ohio, shared how her three-year-old son was accidentally trapped inside her family’s Toyota Highlander. At the time, Amos was pregnant with twins, and detailed just how easy it was for her son to get lost in the shuffle.
“We had gone to the pool. When we got home I made sure he was unbuckled from his car seat, and his car door was wide open,” Amos writes. “I was carrying in wet towels and swim trunks, my wallet, keys, the camera, a lens that I was worried about dropping, and I’m pregnant with twins and had to pee.”
Amos says the family was inside for almost ten minutes when she realized she hadn’t heard her son’s voice. After looking everywhere for her son, Amos realized he wasn’t inside the house – but still in the car.
“The doors were shut, he was sweating and sobbing with his face pressed against the window,” she wrote. “Ten minutes while we were distracted, and he was trapped in the car.”
Amos shares that her son had been inside the car looking under the seats for one of his flip-flops when one of her older children closed the car door behind them.
“One of the other kids thought he had already gotten out and that he had just left his car door open,” Amos wrote. “She closed it trying to be helpful. We’ve already had the repeated lesson on how leaving car doors open results in dead batteries.”
Amos says that her son was inside the car panicking and crying, but nobody could hear him.
“It could happen so easily. I realize this now,” she writes. “What if we thought he was napping and he’d actually snuck out the door and gotten into the car to get something, and the door had blown shut behind him?”
Although panicked, Amos is determined to use her experience as a teachable lesson for parents not to underestimate how easy it is for children to be locked in hot cars. After the incident, Amos shares that all of her children will be given a crash-course on how to open and close car doors themselves to prevent something like this from happening again.
“My three year old will be practicing how to open the car from the inside all by himself: Opening the door handles, how the locks work, and how to honk the horn until someone comes to help if you can’t open the door,” Amos writes. “Our Highlander has a button by the steering wheel that opens the back hatch. He will be practicing how to find and push that button successfully.”
Amos urges parents to treat this as seriously as they would fire safety or swimming lessons.
“We have fire drills. Why not car escape drills?,” Amos posed to readers. “We teach them how to swim, how to float on their backs if they fall in water accidentally and can’t get out, yet we don’t teach them how to get out of the car sitting in the driveway.”