Yesterday morning, the horrifying story of a New Jersey Latina mom who left her 18-month-old son in the back seat of a car while she went shopping in a T.J. Maxx was all over the news. Thankfully, the baby survived. A month ago, though, a 4-month-old baby girl was not so lucky: An Indiana father forgot that he was carrying his daughter in his car while he went about his day and the temperature outside rose to a sweltering 104 degrees.

There have been many others. It seems like with this summer's record heat, this type of thing is happening often--and in all these cases, the parents say they just plain forgot, or that their son or daughter was sleeping so soundly they did not remember that they were in the backseat of the car.


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I will be the first to admit that before having my baby, I'd balk at parents' excuses for doing this. How could you forget your child—your BABY—in a boiling hot car? Doesn't being a parent become the most important job in your life? 

That was before Sebastian though. While I still think these parents suffered MAJOR lapses in judgment and ended up making TERRIBLE life-threating mistakes, in a way I can see how these sad stories are possible. Now, you could say I'm hyper-aware that my son is in the backseat: I agonize over his being all alone back there and hate when the sun hits even just a part of his little face for fear that he's going to get sunburned. But being a new parent, I understand the frazzled, sleep-deprived daze that some parents live in. I may look normal and seem perfectly functional, but underneath my carefully put-together exterior is a tired, sleepy, often confused Yuli.  

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I really have tried to put myself in these parents' shoes. They all seem honestly remorseful and in many cases, spouses and neighbors bear wtiness to what great parents they are. We're all only human, and these cases help remind me that when I'm with my son, I will always make sure that I absolutely NEVER forget him. These parents will have to live with their tragic mistakes  forever, which, more than being judged by the authorities, the media, or the public, will be their toughest punishment.

Do you think it's possible to forget your child in your car? Share with us in the comments below!

Image via Thinkstock

About the author

Yuliana is the Assistant Managing Editor of Mamás Latinas and a new-ish mamá (as her son is almost a toddler, she can't claim new mami-hood anymore). She was born in Medellín, Colombia and raised in New Jersey.

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