Monday, November 23, 2009

Emma's Inspirations

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Sandie Lee, former editor for Families Matter , featured the story of Emma. “Each year, millions of children face danger and injury because of being left in vehicles unattended,” Sandie wrote.

We’ve all read the headlines and been horrified. We realize how easy this could happen—even to the best of caregivers. In our go-go, sleep deprived world, children are left in unattended cars more than we’d like to think.

According to Jan Null (San Francisco State University), there have already been 30 deaths of infants this year due to having been left in a hot vehicle.

In 2008, there were 43 deaths. Since 1998 there have been a total of 442 recorded infant fatalities due to having been left unattended in vehicles. Temperatures don’t have to be in the 90’s to be life-threatening.

Temperatures as mild as the 70’s can be fatal. It’s probably not surprising that the majority of deaths are clustered in southern and southwestern states: Florida, Arizona and Texas, as examples.

According to Sandie who is currently Blog Editor of Bumples Family First, "Barbara left her child in an SUV. Fortunately for Barbara and her daughter Emma, her story had a positive outcome and Barbara used the experience to create a helpful product for caregivers.

In the Families Matters article Barbara explained, “When our daughter Emma was an infant, we moved into our new house. As we pulled into the driveway, we all became very excited and quickly left the car to see the house. There was so much to be done that everyone went off in different directions.

“I had assumed that my husband had Emma, and he thought that it was me who had brought her inside. Making the assumption that everything was okay, we all went about moving into our new home. In a sudden moment of panic we realized that our baby girl wasn’t even in the house. Nearly forty-five minutes after we had arrived, we rushed to our car for Emma.

“The sun was high in the sky, and it was sweltering in the car. We were very lucky. I thank God that my older son had cracked open the back window on the ride up because he was carsick, or Emma may not have become the vibrant six-year-old she is today!”

After the event Barbara was created Emma’s Inspirations, a decal (a new car window static-cling sticker) that provides a visual reminder to the driver that a child could still be in the backseat. To dole out responsibility, Emma’s inspiration includes four decals designed to adhere to the inside of the window and facing out.

Suggested placements are on the driver, passenger and rear door windows. For order information visit Emma’s Inspirations, which also has decals for pet owners, too.

Jan Null posted safety recommendations on her site. She leads off her list with instructions to never leave a child unattended. Her advice is telling us something we already know. It’s highly unlikely a child is left alone purposefully.

Points worth repeating:
1. If you see a child unattended in a hot vehicle call 911. Don’t hesitate to take action.
2. Always lock your car. This prevents a child from climbing in by him or herself. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used for play.
3. Make “look before you leave” a routine whenever you get out of your car.
4. Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for school.

Enhancing the decal idea, keep a stuffed animal in the carseat. When you place the child in the carseat, put the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.

Allyn Evans
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