After the last 18 months of watching my little girls learn new things, it was my turn yesterday. I hope to begin babysitting in the next few weeks part time and thought it was time to learn Pediatric CPR/First Aid. Yeah, I should have taken this course before my own children were born, but since I was on bed rest from 27 week on and then I have blacked out for 18 months...well, let's just say I haven't been able to get it in...
So after finally figuring out who was going to watch Peanut and Jelly Bean (Thank you, Mom!), I was able to get up early Saturday morning and attend an all day (8:30am to 5pm) course at the Cincinnati chapter of the American Red Cross.
I have never taken a course through the Red Cross before, but I was very pleased by the instructor's knowledge and professional experience. He has been a paramedic for over 23 years and had quite a few - good and bad - stories to tell us from his time on the job. It was just enough to make me slightly paranoid, but probably was also a good reminder that even though I am gaining experience as a parent and becoming more "relaxed" on the job, I shouldn't allow myself to get too relaxed with my kids or get too preoccupied with other things.
Just last week in Cincinnati, a mother forgot that her 11 month old child was in the car and went to work only to discover the baby later in the afternoon. The car temperature got to 130 degrees and the little one didn't stand a chance. When I hear stories like this it absolutely breaks my heart. I am also interested to hear what people say about it like "How can that mother forget her child?", "What is wrong with her?" and comments get more and more critical.
My take on it is simple. People have way too much going on and some people are paying for it. None of us could fathom doing it, but I bet the week before, this mother could not have imagined doing it either. It was a horrible, tragic and cruel accident that occurred and she gets to spend the rest of her life reliving that day of finding her precious child gone from this world.
So, although I cry when I think about that child and how their life had to end, I refuse to throw the first stone at the mother. Instead I cry for her and her family and will use this opportunity to take a good look at what I can do to make my family safer and help other families that I know keep their children safe, too.
I have listed a few ideas, but I would love to hear from other people about what we can do to help protect every child out there. As a stay at home Mom, I may not be rushing to a job every morning, but there are other times in my day when I have errands to run that things may start to get busy, so every mother should take caution when transporting our little ones. Take a look at the list below. Some are easy, some would require a lot of work, but these are just a springboard to help protect our children.
1. Take a Pediatric CPR/First Aid course. Check out the American Red Cross or your local hospital.
2. Set a reminder in your email to alert you each morning "WHERE IS YOUR CHILD?"
3. Make an agreement with the child's babysitter or daycare center to call you on your cell phone at a specific time if the child has not shown to school.
4. Encourage auto manufacturers to install devices that will sound the car alarm when the doors are locked, engine off and someone is still in the car.
5. Create a phone tree with other mothers to check in with them in the early morning and vice versa. (A good way from SAHM's to help mamas that work outside the home.)
6. Put a huge obnoxious sticker on your dashboard or steering wheel that always makes you think to check for your child. Change the sticker every so often so you don't get used to seeing it.
7. Check in with your spouse first thing if they are the one dropping the child off to the sitter or daycare center.