Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What we learned yesterday…

On the way to meet my very competent and responsible babysitter at dance class, she called in a panic. She told me that my youngest daughter, Morgan, had locked herself in the car and she didn’t know what to do. The car was running and the air conditioning was on, which is fortunate since we live in Texas and the temperature in a car in the summer can reach 120 degrees easily. I arrived about 1 minute after her call and found her frantic and my daughter crying in the car seat. I immediately called the local police department whose phone number my husband had programmed into my cell phone. After a brief description of what was happening and our location, they told me that someone would be there soon to help.

So we waited and tried to calm Morgan through the glass of the car window and encourage her to release herself from the car seat, but being so small she didn’t have the strength to push the release button on the harness and she didn’t know how to loosen the straps to wiggle herself free. By the time the first police officer arrived, Morgan had calmed herself slightly and I had found out how this ordeal occurred. Apparently, Morgan thought it would be funny to lock the door after the babysitter got out of the car to get her bag from the trunk. However, the babysitter didn’t realize the car door had shut just enough for the door lock to engage and Morgan didn’t realize the consequences of her practical joke.

At the sight of the officer the waterworks began again. I don’t think I have ever felt so helpless in my life, watching my baby cry uncontrollably in the back seat of a locked car. Usually, when one of my daughters is hurt or sad, I am right there to pick them up and dry their tears. To myself and my little Morgan, I was completely useless at this moment.

As we waited for the second officer to arrive with the lock out kit, I wished I had taught Morgan to release her car seat harness or loosen the straps. So heaven forbid, she would ever have to in an emergency, she could do so quickly and calmly. Once the lock out kit was put to use, Morgan was freed from her “not so funny” practical joke.

My oldest daughter describes this day as a disaster. It certainly felt that way at the time, but I always try to find the value in difficult situations. So what did we learn?

My babysitter learned you can’t trust a three year old. Both my daughters learned that they shouldn’t touch buttons just for fun as unknown dangers could ensue. I learned, I need to be prepared for emergencies as well as to prepare my daughters.

As moms, this could happen to any one of us. Make sure your kids know how release or loosen their car seat harnesses in an emergency. Also make sure that they know how to lock and unlock the doors of the car and teach them that the buttons and locks are only for grownups to use unless it is an emergency.


Glen said...

Because no one got hurt and everything turned out OK, you can say we all learned a "good" lesson. I don't think anyone will forget this adventure for a long time.

leadottie said...

unfortunately in non-emergency situations my girl Camille loosens herself out of the carseat straps unless I make them very tight. This usually happens while we're going down the freeway. That makes me freak out. So what to do?

Mary said...

My oldest did that too. She is now five and in a booster seat, which by the way she can't loosen the straps for. But before, I would explain to her how important it was to keep her straps tight while we were driving to keep her safe. I also mentioned to her that if we were pulled over by a police officer she might get a ticket...that seemed to work pretty well. LOL!