Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It's not worth the latte

We've already heard of the recent deaths from children being left in baking hot cars this summer and the "real" summer temps only just began three weeks ago.  As for parents forgetting their children in the car - it's a horrible possibility that haunts every parent, or at least this one.  When rushing from one place to another I'm actually more paranoid of leaving a child at a previous site than in the car but either way its the same: We're sleep-deprived, going about our day and focus on the details surrounding our little loved ones that sometimes we may forget about those little loved ones themselves.

It hasn't happened to me but I can imagine, just like this mom did with her 10-day-old while also caring for her 18-month-old.  Being in a fog already with a 6-month-old and a 31-month-old, I can't imagine being 10 days postpartum with another kid under two years who is unable to communicate sufficiently with words and may be feeling a tad out of sorts with a new being taking up its parental resources.

What I can't imagine, however, is how a parent in good conscience leave his or her child(ren) in the car while s/he runs inside to get food or coffee, like this father did.  He essentially traded his 9-month-old daughter for a subway sandwich (assumption made based upon his intention to buy food at Home Depot).  Isn't there a McDonald's close enough to drive-thru? Haven't we all had sufficient experiences with cars in the summer to know that even a brief run-in to a store allows for the car to heat up to an uncomfortable level, which we deal with by blasting the air conditioning?  Children in the back don't have that option, never mind that they don't have the keys to even turn on the air conditioner if they could.  If you'd like to see just how hot things can get, check out the experiment of this Hamilton reporter.  Let's just say that he wasn't allowed to stay the allotted 30 minutes of the experiment, and even then it was a questionable length of time.

"But I keep the car running," some might say.  "The air conditioner is on so I can run in for a few minutes."

So let me get this straight.  You have left your precious cargo, which either you or your spouse or someone carried for 9 months in the womb, then nursed to thrive and survive in this world, in a car with the keys in the ignition, running, for some passerby to swoop up?  A car thief isn't going to politely leave your kids on the sidewalk, and even if they did, that action is still a better testimony for the thief than the parent.

I remember working at Starbucks where this particular location was at the end of a strip mall.  Parking was decent but we still got those uber-impatient people who would park right outside the door and run in to get their coffee.  I'm sorry, I don't care what rush you're in, that's just plain rude.  Not every customer will be able to do that and you're blocking the road that's supposed to allow 2-way parking while creating a blind corner for other drivers to turn into or turn from.  I don't understand how your bad time management must become an inconvenience and hazard to pure strangers.

That's just getting me started.  What really makes my blood boil are those parents who park their cars right outside the door and dart inside to grab their latte leaving their kids inside.  Car running or not, summer or winter, spring or fall, you've just traded your the safety of your kid(s) for your drink.  Is it really that necessary?  Not the caffeine jolt, the abandonment of children for the caffeine jolt.  If said jolt is truly needed, sacrifice taste for a Timmies coffee or McD's (Higgins & Burke ain't that bad!).  And if you know me, that's a big thing to say!  I love my Starbucks but I love my kids more.

Just please, don't leave your kids in the car.  Should anything, God forbid, happen to your children while your "run in real quick", you'll never forgive yourself and lattes will never taste the same again.

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