Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A near-miss

About an hour ago, I was faced with the worst decision my oldest child has ever made. We'd been out running errands and I watched each of the boys hop out of the van and run into the garage. I walked around the van to get some bags out of the front seat, shut the drivers side back door with the remote, locked & armed the van, headed into the garage (shutting the garage door behind myself) and began unloading bags in the kitchen. A minute later I yelled for Zachary, just to know what room he was in and what he was doing. When he didn't respond, I knew something was not right. I began yelling rather frantically and headed into the front yard. As I threw open the garage door, I was thinking that it simply WAS NOT POSSIBLE for him to be out front. I'D SEEN HIM GO IN! As I was screaming his name in the front yard, he suddenly popped up from the back seat of the van. He was playing -- hiding! He started this when we were on vacation and I told him at least a dozen times how unsafe and completely unacceptable it is.

I still cannot figure out how and when he got into the van without me noticing. I keep thinking about how I locked and armed the van from the outside; meaning he could not unlock it from the inside. Thankfully, if he tried to unlock it (which he hadn't... he wasn't even concerned that he'd been locked out there by himself) the car alarm would have gone off. But what if I hadn't heard the alarm? If I'd been super busy and just assumed he'd gone upstairs to do a puzzle or downstairs to play the Wii, who knows how long he could have been locked outside in that heat.

So... I think that sometimes this is how tragic accidents happen. A child just swiftly, in a matter of seconds, gets away from his/her parents and gets swept away by their childish desires and decisions. I am the parent that schools chuckle about; the one who has all sorts of safety-oriented questions, as if this is the school's very first day in existence. We still have baby gates on every doorway in our house and hotel locks on every outside door. Many of our friends would joke that we're a bit over-the-top with our safety precautions, but this still happened -- while I was standing there (but didn't see him??)!

It is scary how quickly these things happen. As the summer temps climb even higher, I wish you all a safe summer. Check your backseats before locking the car outdoors.

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