Laws should make it easier to save children left in hot cars
Oklahoma House of Representatives approved a bill that would remove any liability from a person who breaks into a locked vehicle to rescue an abandoned child. Should more states follow in their footsteps?
I really try my very hardest not to judge other people — especially moms and dads — when it comes to this thing called parenting. Yes we're human, are going to make mistakes and will have a few "aha" moments that give us the oomph we need to keep going.
You might forget to childproof a table corner, let your children eat ice cream late at night or do something else that raises a few eyebrows. When it comes to accidentally leaving your child in a car, that is an "honest mistake" I just can't write off as a simple oops.
KidsandCars.org reports an average of 38 children will die in hot cars every year. As far as I'm concerned, this is 38 children too many. I can't begin to imagine how badly a child suffers in a steaming vehicle with no way of getting out. As much as we're in tune with our babies during their first months on this earth, we need to be just as alert as they get older and are able to take care of themselves. Even then you might catch me ducking in the bushes to make sure they're OK. I kid.
Every time I go out, I stroll through the parking lot (not the whole thing) to make sure no one left their child in the car. Call me a creeper or nosy woman, but I'm a firm believer of "no child left behind" when it comes to hot vehicles. Other mommy friends of mine do the same thing which keeps me hopeful a Good Samaritan will intervene and help bring down the amount of hot car deaths.
The only problem is I don't know what I would do if I ever found an unattended child in the car.
Of course my first reaction would be to call 911, but I don't think that's enough. Suddenly, a Jazmine Sullivan song called "Bust Your Windows" comes to mind. I have no problem breaking into a stranger's car if it means I can save the child they accidentally left. The cost of replacing a window doesn't even hold a candle to the value of a human life.
Thankfully, it looks like I will soon have the law on my side.
The Oklahoma House of Representatives just approved a bill that will remove civil liability from a do-gooder who sees a child left in a locked vehicle. In plain English, you have permission to bust a window or two in order to save a life. If approved by the governor, the Sooner State will join Tennessee and Georgia who both have legislation in place that protects bystanders from rescuing unattended children.
Quite frankly more states need to follow suit with laws that help protect the helpless and forgotten. If a parent isn't going to remember their child being in the car — for whatever reason — others should be able to come to their rescue.
Look, I get that accidents happen. As a mother of a 15-month-old son and a baby on the way, life can certainly get busy where you barely remember if you showered let alone fed your child. Especially in our world of modern technology and on-the-go information, there are tons of distractions that can take our attention where it's most needed.
This however does not mean I don't check my car.
Maybe it's because I'm the daughter of a retired police sergeant that I'm wired to check the back seat of my vehicle. As a woman, you never know if a killer is hiding ready to pounce. This makes it easier for me to do a quick scan to make sure my little guy isn't there.
Keep your purse in the back seat, establish a buddy system with your day care provider or download a "don't forget your child" app on your smartphone. Your little one shouldn't have to pay for their parent's blunder with their life. But should you happen to forget you have your child with you, at least there are some places in this country where a Good Samaritan can legally intervene.