Kids are fast… and it takes just seconds for them to disappear. A few weeks ago, I had something terrifying happen, and I want to share it with you in hopes that it will remind you to always have an eye on your kids.
A few weeks ago, I had a friend over to help me with a rather large craft project. The only kids I had at home were Lucy, Parker, and Gage, and they were all in and out of the house along with my friend’s children.
After a little while, I suddenly realized that I didn’t know where Parker was.
My heart started racing. Where was he?
I searched the house, room by room, but he wasn’t there.
He wasn’t in the basement, either.
So, I went outside. We live in an area that is completely surrounded by woods. While this is typically no big deal, we have a bear that has gotten way too friendly with our trash cans.
I went outside, screaming Parker’s name. Where on earth was he? Why hadn’t I been watching him more closely? Why was I so enthralled with this project that I had allowed myself to be distracted from my children?
Tears streaming down my face, I screamed his name over and over.
And then we found him.
He had climbed into my friend’s car and shut the door. Luckily, summer hadn’t hit yet, and it wasn’t hot, plus she had cracked her windows.
He was fine. Thank God.
My heart still pounding, I pulled him from the car, and clung to him. I told him over and over again that I was so sorry I hadn’t been watching him better.
He grabbed my face with both hands, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Mom, I was just driving to Walmart.”
SIGH. I still cannot believe that I allowed this to even happen. The “what if’s” are enough to make me sick to my stomach.
Now the doors are locked on any car parked in our driveway. Always. Parker is no longer allowed outside unless someone is right there with him. And I will never, ever again get so focused on anything that it distracts me from where my children are or what they are doing.
Summer is here, and there are far too many ways accidents can occur. I’ve already heard of 3 accounts of children being run over by an adult backing out of the driveway. Last year, 49 children in the United States died from heat stroke while left unattended in vehicles – making it the worst year on record. This is a significant health concern because there are an estimated 250,000 cases of children trapped in cars every month, with 2,000 of the nearly fatal.*
Please, please, PLEASE keep an eye on your children this summer. Know where they are at all times. It’s easy to say, “It will never happen to me.”
But what if it does?
It’s always better to be safe rather than to be sorry later.
*Heat stroke statistics courtesy of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.