Hearing the story out of Georgia involving Justin Harris is extremely upsetting. The first part of the dad’s story is the part of being a dad that scares me the most. at first it seemed that Justin really did forget about his son in the car. The details that are now surfacing tell a different story and I won’t try to figure out whether he is guilty or not or convince you otherwise. But, leaving my Kid in the car, hot or cold, is one of my biggest fears.
The mornings are my time to get the Kid ready. We have a routine: I wake up, get ready for work, get the Kid up, feed him breakfast, let him watch an episode of Wild Kratts, and take him to school. I am so scared that I will end up leaving him in the car and just get into the habit of stopping at Starbucks to grab my venti coffee, turn on sports radio, and head into work that I have started to do a few things that will prevent me from forgetting him in the car.
The suggestions that I am about to give aren’t anything earth shattering. There have been countless news stories written about how to prevent this sort of incident happening again. In fact, there are more suggestions than just the ones that will follow. These are the ones I use and have worked for me so I don’t leave my child in the car.
#1 – Talk to your child
This doesn’t matter how old your child is. Even if he is a day old, talk to him. For the lack of a better word, talk about a bonding experience. Tell your child the story about how you and your partner met. Tell them the story about how you found out your wife was pregnant. Just talk to them. If you want to really remind yourself that your child is in the car, be sure to say their name while you are talking to them.
#2 – Put something in the back seat
When I left broadcast news, I starting taking a man bag to work with me every day. When I started taking the Kid to school, I would put this bag in the back seat. This way if I do forget to take the Kid to school, I will see him when I get my bag out.
#3 – Put something in the front passenger seat
It could be something as small as a teddy bear or maybe a baby bottle, not full of course because I have first-hand experience leaving a full bottle of milk in a hot car for days on end. If you are anything like me, when you are driving alone you just throw your cell phone in the passenger seat. When I pick up my phone, seeing the teddy bear is a reminder that the Kid is in the car with me.