A 4-year-old Pennsylvania girl is dead after being left in a hot car yesterday for hours in Williamsport, where temperatures reached 97 degrees. Her caregiver, who usually drops her off at daycare, drove straight to work instead, leaving the child in the car, and not discovering her there until she left work at 3:30 pm, according to FOX 43, WPMT.
What the news isn’t reporting, because it’s speculation, apparently, is that the caregiver didn’t just “drive straight to work” (to me that makes it sound purposeful)—she forgot to drop the child off at daycare, but thought that she had, the same mistake a Mississippi mom made earlier this year, resulting in the death of her 2-year-old.
My guess is that while this busy, tired, caregiver was heading into work, her mind was on her work, the stress, all the many things she had to do to just get THROUGH the day. The child probably fell back asleep on the drive, and without her chatter, the caregiver simply got laser-focused on what was next, and forgot about the sleeping child in the back seat.
Because the same thing happened to an acquaintance of mine, a loving father, about 11 or 12 years ago, I know that his can happen to even the BEST of parents and caregivers. His daughter fell asleep on his way in to work, and he went to work thinking he had already dropped her off at day care. I hate to keep writing up these kinds of stories, but until these things stop happening, I’m going to. It’s so very EASY to get distracted by the stresses of our busy lives, and just FORGET. It’s so easy to get tunnel vision, and it’s a FOLLY to think it couldn’t happen to you or me. Even the best parents and caregivers mess up. The one way to assure we don’t? Awareness. It could happen to you, and it could happen to me, unless we’re intentional about making sure it DOESN’T.
Please join me in praying for the family of this sweet girl, and for the caregiver, and for the safety of ALL our children in this summer’s heat.