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Seattle Mama Doc on children left in parked cars

When my son was a few months old, I strapped him carefully into his car seat and drove for a few miles -- I forget where we were going; it might have been to daycare -- and, when I got him out at our destination, discovered that I had forgotten to buckle his car seat into the car. I was stricken, my head filled with images of what could have happened had I been in a fender better or, worse, a real accident.

I'm the type of person who relies firmly on my calendar to keep me oriented -- I've been known, more than once, to blow off meetings or appointments if I made the mistake of not writing them down immediately. It's gotten worse the older I've gotten, but even back then, when my son was an infant, I was aware of this tendency toward stress-induced flakiness and was haunted by dreams of forgetting the baby somewhere.  I'm actually relieved that my kids are now old enough to not be forgotten anywhere.

Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician who writes the excellent blog Seattle Mama Doc, writes about the worst kind of forgetting of all -- when parents leave their kids locked in a parked car on a hot day. She links to the 2009 Washington Post article by Gene Weingarten about this surprisingly common phenomenon -- we're talking about dozens of infants every year, not just one or two --and gives tips for avoiding having this happen to your family.

Go read the post, and (if you're prepared to have your heart broken), the WaPo article, then pass the word on to everyone you know who juggles packed schedules and little sleep and lots of responsibilities -- and a child in a car seat.

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