You dressed him in warm clothes, little bright orange socks on his feet, his pacifier in his mouth, the soft cap from the hospital on his head, warm fleece footie pajamas on his body.
Pride and an overwhelming love swells with you every time you look at that precious face - you know the one that looks just like your husband when HE was a baby. HE could not deny this kid even if he wanted to, which he doesn't. HE is as proud of this boy as you are.
So, you get everything packed in the diaper bag that you think you could possibly need. And, the two of you venture out to the grocery store for the first time since you brought this little guy into this world.
As you drive you think back to the baby shower your sister threw for you; everyone was so excited. You received so many nice gifts. You cannot wait to try every single one of the baby's new outfits on him. You glance in your rear view mirror and see his peaceful, sleeping face.
You park the car in front of your favorite grocery store. You get out and walk around to the back of the car, open the back hatch door and realize you forgot your stroller. You glance at that peaceful face and you think, I will not be but just a minute and he is sleeping so peacefully.
You decide to lower the back two windows just a little bit so he can get a cross breeze while you are in the store. It's not hot outside and you really do not need that much from the store. You go and you do your shopping.
While you are in the store you hear an ambulance siren in the distance but you do not pay any attention to it.
When you walk out of the store, your see a bunch of people standing near an ambulance. Two paramedics are working furiously on something small on a gurney. The gurney is put in the ambulance along with one of the paramedics. They fly out of the parking lot with the siren blaring. You get a really sick feeling in your stomach - the crowd is right behind your car. As you walk up pushing your full grocery cart, you see your son's empty car seat. It looks wet. The front passenger side window is smashed. A police officer is looking at you with a very serious look on his face.
What you found out later:
After you left your son in the car, his soft, kitten like cries attracted the attention of a woman as she walked past the car. She and two other women tried to pry the two windows down but they could not get them to budge. One of the women called 911 for help. When the police arrived they knocked out the front passenger side window with a bat from someone else's car. They were able to get the baby out of the car and put cool cloths on his head. He quit sweating which meant his body was shutting down from too much heat. The outside temperature was only 78 degrees Fahrenheit but the car was parked on black asphalt in direct sun. The humidity in the air was 75%. The shade on the moon roof in the top of the car was open which meant the direct sun was heating up the inside of the car to a temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
The baby, being a newborn, less than a week old, weighed only 7 lbs. 6 oz.. From the time the baby was discovered by the women walking past the car to when the mother emerged from the grocery store was 40 minutes. The mother swore she was gone only 15 minutes.
This account is fictional but situations like it happen all the time. A newborn in a situation can become dehydrated and die in a matter of minutes. Leaving your child in a car, even on a relatively mild day, could doom your child to an excruciating death.
If you do not believe me - next time it is 78 degrees outside with high humidity, park your car in open sunlight on black asphalt. Put up all windows. See how long you lastbefore you have to get out. Then imagine being strapped in and completely helpless.
Next week.......another post about keeping children safe in a car.