Don’t Forget Your Passengers

To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work. ~Mary Oliver, American poet

[wait, don’t leave]

Gotta unload these groceries. Start dinner. Get Sissy to her friend’s house and Bubba to the ball game.

[wait, it’s hot]

Hurry. Hurry. Hurry. Hubby will be home soon and expect dinner on time.

[wait, you forgot something]

Baby is sound asleep. I’ll roll down the windows and let her nap. She was up half the night, and everybody knows you don’t wake a sleeping kid. Five minutes … tops.

[wait, you’re leaving me alone?]

Bubba, you or Sissy run out and check on your sister.


Still sleeping? Okay, give her five more minutes and try again. In the meantime, turn off that TV, Sissy. You and Bubba help me put away these groceries.

[mama, get me outta here]

Bubba, put the phone down. Sissy, turn off that video game. Everybody in the kitchen — now! — so we can start dinner.

[can’t get out. getting hot]

There’s your father. Hi, honey. How was your day? Early dinner tonight. Both kids have plans (wink, wink)

[so hot. can’t breathe]

The baby? She’s fine, probably sleeping.

[wah, can’t cry. too hot. strapped in]

Yes, I had one of the kids bring her inside a while ago.

[gasp gasp]

She’s not in her crib? Wait, where is she?


What do you mean, she’s still in her carseat? How can that be? Which of you kids didn’t bring the baby in?

[          ]


Note: An average of 37 kids die each year in hot cars, whether from being forgotten, from crawling inside and accidentally locking themselves in, or (horrors!) being left behind intentionally. More than 750 have died since 1998 from pediatric vehicular heatstroke. This is inexcusable in a civilized land, but sadly, scientists claim it can happen to anybody.

Kids’ body temperatures climb 3-5 times faster than an adult’s. Even a mild 57-degree temperature in a shady parked car with the windows down can result in heatstroke.

Thousands of animals die each year from heatstroke or suffocation after being left alone in vehicles. Even the shortest errand can turn deadly.

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but please pay attention. For happier Mother’s and Father’s days, don’t ever leave a child or a pet untended in a car!

18 thoughts on “Don’t Forget Your Passengers

  1. It happened here a couple of weeks ago — again. While it seems unbelievable that someone could forget a child, we all know how easily we can forget ‘this’ or ‘that’ as we run on our own autopilot. Leaving a child or pet “just for a minute” is so dangerous: especially if that one minute turns into five.

    • So very true, Linda, and so very heart-breaking. I can’t fathom living through such guilt. I recall locking Infant Domer in his car seat in the garage one day and, while it wasn’t hot, I instantly called the police who rescued him. And gave me a little, “Shame on you, mom!” look, too. We were both fortunate it never happened again.

  2. Excellent post, Debbie, and a very important one! I used to see this a lot when I lived in Florida where the heat is HIGH, pretty much all year round. I remember one time when my mother called the police because she spotted a dog left in a car with the windows half down in the parking lot of the mall.

    Again, great post!

    Have a super Sunday, my friend!

    • Thank you, Ron. I was surprised to read how easy it is to “forget” a kid in a hot car. I imagine it would be harder to forget a dog bouncing from front to back seats, but a child is typically strapped in. And like as not, sleeping.

      Thanks for stopping by, my friend. Hope you have a wonderful week — stay indoors when you can because it’s supposed to get HOT!! xx

  3. Very well done, Debbie! Yes, even with all the publicity surrounding this subject, I still see the occasional dog panting in a car in the supermarket carpark on a summer day. I think partly it’s that we so rarely get really hot weather, people forget the dangers. Being the obnoxious type of person I am, I have been known to force the staff to put an announcement out over the tannoy telling the owner to get back to the car quick if they don’t want the RSPCA called (the animal cruelty people)…

    • GOOD for you, FF!! I think more of us should get involved when we see something untoward like this. And I like your idea of putting an announcement out *before* taking matters into your own hands and smashing the windows!

  4. Unbelievable. And yet – it happens every summer, and each child deserves a lot better. I won’t leave Katie in the car alone in the summer, hardly even in the winter. Which makes traveling alone with her difficult when I need to use the restroom. I did stop once this trip because I wasn’t feeling well. I parked in the shade, sprinted to the lady’s room, did what I could, sprinted back, sat in the car and cooled it back down and then did this again 2 more times until I felt better. I didn’t know what else to do. No dogs allowed in rest rooms. Maybe I could have gotten away with taking her in with me. Mostly I avoid eating or drinking when we’re traveling so that I don’t have to go use the facilities. So much easier when two of us are traveling with her.

    • I know exactly what you’re talking about, and I’ve faced a similar dilemma with Dallas. Once, I tried to sneak him into a ladies room with me while traveling, and got caught by a cleaning fella (who offered to hold his leash while I went — right, like I’m going to turn my precious soul-dog over to a stranger with a mop!!)

  5. This is powerful, Debbie, describing it in real time. Shows how easily we forget. One of the suggestions I’ve heard is to put your cellphone in the backseat with the baby. But what does it say about us that we’re more likely to remember to get our cellphone and not a baby?? The statistics are very sad. But this is an excellent reminder.

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