When I first heard about a child dying in a hot car seat, my first thought was of vengeance against the parent. Of course, I’m not just talking about the parents who PURPOSEFULLY leave a kid in a hot car, I also mean the parents who thought they dropped their kids off at daycare and left a sleeping kid in the car seat while they worked. How, I raged, could they NOT KNOW?
Well, after working rotating shifts at a prison for several months, not being able to sleep properly, and heading in for a 12 hour day shift, I strapped my son (then ~1.5 years old) into his car seat, drove right past his daycare and got 99% of the way to the prison on a half hour car ride before glancing in my mirror and realizing my son was asleep in the car seat and I had forgotten to drop him off. When I get in the parking lot I always just hopped right out and started walking towards the gate getting ready for a pat-down so had I not seen him, I might have left him. It got up to 95 degrees that day.
That has fucked with me ever since, and I came across this horrific but amazingly written Pulitzer-winning piece on the subject.
After you accidentally kill your child, you then sit in a courtroom and they show you pictures and autopsy photos and describe it to you, blaming you, trying to jail you for it. Maybe they should. Maybe I’d have deserved it.
Have a read. It’s quite distressing, but worth it.