BECAUSE ONE CHILD LOST TO VEHICULAR HEATSTROKE IS TOO MANY #zeroistheonlynumber
In the last ten years almost 900 children have died in hot cars. Last year was the ten year high at 53 children. It seemed like every few days the news headlines included a story about a parent or caregiver forgetting an infant or small child in the backseat of a vehicle. Even professional bus and daycare transport drivers are not immune to this tragic, and often fatal mistake. My own son is long past the age of riding in the backseat, however, I remember all too well the long days and longer nights when I was a young, single mother existing on coffee and adrenaline. Thankfully I never forgot that he was in my car, but the terrifying truth is that I easily could have. Many people think that good parents would never forget their children in a vehicle - but the truth is that it is almost entirely good parents who do.
"The frontal and parietal cortices allow us to use stored information to make a plan and then to execute that plan in the future. The hippocampus is critical for consciously remembering to retrieve the memory and that the task was completed. The basal ganglia enable us to go into an "autopilot" mode, in which we follow a well-traveled route, but in the process, lose awareness of the plan to take the child to daycare." - Professor David Diamond, Medicine, Science and the Law, 2019.)
Have you ever found yourself driving a familiar route only to discover that your brain has "zoned out" and you have arrived at your destination without really remembering getting there? The same can happen when we are distracted with everyday life stress, medical or financial worries, or even a deadline at work. Add in a deviation from our usual routines, such as the opposite caregiver being responsible for a child's drop off, and being on autopilot can quickly become a dangerous situation.
Automobile makers are working hard on developing built-in safety systems to alert us that our children or pets are in the backseats, but let’s face it – we can’t all buy brand new vehicles to reap the benefits of this emerging technology.
The National Safety Council advises developing a consistent routine and placing a reminder in the front seat of your vehicle, such as a sippy cup, or a lunchbox or backpack - but these items are as likely to be found on your kitchen floor as they are in the front seat of your car, so common they can become almost invisible. We needed something uncommon that we wouldn't miss when exiting the vehicle, and that's when the idea for KICsNY Safety Alert Bands was born – a construction orange flexible band with large bright text alerting you that there is a child or baby in the vehicle. An effective visual reminder doesn't need to be complicated or expensive – just eye-catching with an easy on-off design. Each time you buckle your kiddos into the backseat, strap KICS to your steering wheel, door handle, or even better, your wrist – just choose a place where it will be in your line of sight when you exit the vehicle. Once your children are out of the vehicle, simply remove your KICs Alert Band by the soft Velcro fastener and keep it handy for the next pick-up.
Wearing the KICs Alert Band on your wrist adds an added layer of security – if you don’t notice it, a co-worker may, potentially preventing too much time passing before you can get back to your kids.
If you and your partner or fellow caregiver(s) switch off drop-off days, give them a kindly reminder by attaching KICS to their steering wheel.
Losing children to vehicular heatstroke is a tragedy that doesn’t have to happen…and preventing it doesn’t have to cost a lot or be complicated. Please join our initiative to bring awareness to the danger of childhood deaths due to vehicular heatstroke, and help us prevent it. Zero deaths is the only acceptable number. #zeroistheonlynumber.
Cynde London McCoy