Monday, June 7, 2010

Babies Forgotten in Cars: Continued

My post last week about a new invention prompted several comments here and on  The invention is intended to prevent parents from forgetting their children in their cars, which is potentially fatal in hot weather.  Since it is a hot topic (forgive me; I could not resist the pun), I would like to continue the discussion this week:

In one post on the threat at, umbrage was taken at my choice of term "offloading responsibility."  I guess in that phrase I was imagining a type of person (who may or may not exist) who gets The Gizmo and takes the attitude "Now I don't have to think about forgetting my child, because if I did, my Giz would start beeping!" Satisfied at removing one more thing off his/her checklist, he or she could then go merrily on with his/her way.  I meant it as an exaggeration, and hope/pray that this exact type of person does not actually exist.

Other people stated that, in the cases where the inthinkable has actually happened, the parent or caregiver was not in his/her usual routine (e.g., covering for the person who usually drives the child one place or the other) and it turned into a tragic mistake.  There is usually no doubt in the minds of the authorities or family that the adult would ever have intentionally left the child in the car, but was this day he or she was out of sorts, not in the usual routine, or distracted, in an atypical, unexpected situation.

My concern is this:  if these types of things usually happen in non-normal, unanticipated situations, who is this product for?  To me, it seems like a Catch-22:  Would a parent who thinks ahead enough to buy the Gizmo ever be the type to forget their child?  Or, would a parent who is in such a distracted state remember to use the Gizmo?

On, safeinthecar liked the idea of "matching" bracelets that beeped or blared if child and parent were ever more than a certain distance apart.  I like it, too.  These would be useful in all kinds of situations (in public places, in crowds, as well as cars and parking lots).  But again, when do you know WHEN to wear them?  Some people get in and out of our cars all day with our kids -- does that mean we wear them ALL the time?  How likely is it that we'll say, "I'm going to be forgetful today.  Must remember the bracelets"?

I look forward to hearing your comments.  I'm also going to send this thread to William Edwards, one of the NASA engineers who developed the keychain invention.  Maybe he will chime in or find our thoughts of use!

Background Reading:
My Original Post 
Comment thread on Car-seat org

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