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Mom forgets baby in a shopping cart in 100-degree heat

We’re all unfortunately familiar with hot car deaths, but while this story doesn’t involve cars or a death (thank goodness) it definitely involves a baby being left on his own in the heat… and a warning for all parents.

When a passersby noticed a 4-month-old infant hanging out by himself in a shopping cart that was in front of a salon in Phoenix, Arizona, they got the attention of the staff inside, who ran out and brought the baby indoors while they called police. Fortunately, he was not sick or in immediate danger — the baby boy was unharmed and in good health despite the 100-degree heat outside.

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It wasn’t until 40 minutes later that his distraught mother zoomed back after realizing that she only had two of her three kids with her. The police didn’t file any charges, but they report that they notified the Department of Child Safety.

It’s extremely easy to jump to judgement when you hear this story. How can anyone forget her child? How can she not notice that she only has two of her three kids with her as she runs her errands? What kind of mom leaves her kid in a shopping cart?

It doesn’t sound like something a mother can be capable of, but if anything, this story — and its thankfully happy ending — does contain a valuable lesson for us all.

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We’re all caught up in the daily grind whether we have jobs outside the home or not — and whether or not we have partners who contribute to the work of raising a family. We wake up, we feed people, some of us work and nearly all of us dash around like madwomen just to get everything done that needs to be done during the course of a day. We have to go shopping, we have to deal with our pets, we have to drag ourselves and our kids around to activities or sports, we have to clean our homes and, somewhere, we have to fit in some fun too. Then it’s time for bed, and it all starts over again the next day.

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We simply have to slow down. Make a habit of actually counting your kids Home Alone style if you have to. And yes, employ similar strategies that moms use to make sure that they don’t accidentally leave their babies in the car. Hand your baby your phone. Give him your keys. Let him play with your (closed) purse.

Ingrain that routine into your brain so that even a slight change of plans won’t leave your child unattended in front of a salon on a hot, late-summer day, or in a vehicle facing a terrible death.

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