Have you seen this floating around the interwebs lately?
My local radio station posted it on their Facebook page this morning. As of this writing, it’s been shared from that page 55 times, and it’s one of many pages I’ve seen it on in the past few days. I’m sure the number of shares is into the thousands.
Now, I’m a humorist. I like jokes. I appreciate a little dark jab here and there. But this meme is not funny; it’s recklessly irresponsible. I’ll share my response to the radio station’s post in a minute, but first let’s talk about the other responses.
The intent is sharing the idea that yes, our kids should be important enough to not leave in the car. Is the kid not important enough?? Our kids are the most important things! (Insert crying emoji here).
The responses ranged from exasperation to ignorantly judgmental. There was the gif of Ryan Reynolds facepalming next to a commenter saying these parents should put their heroin next to their kid.
And mixed in with those was my response.
According to this article, an average of 37 kids die in hot cars every year. This article describes specific incidents, illustrating just how easily it can happen by well-intentioned, yet distracted parents. (Side note: some parents really are shitty and leave their kids in hot cars on purpose. I’m not talking about those (and neither is the meme, ironically.)) I used an incident like one described in the second article in this short story.
The point of this post and my reply on Facebook is this: A parent thinking they could/would never never ever leave their kid in a hot car is how kids get left in hot cars. If you think you’re immune to such a tragic mistake, you won’t take precautions to prevent it.
So please, I beg you, stop sharing this meme, and if you’re feeling brave, straighten out anyone who needs it. Being all “holier than thou” when it comes to these shockingly easy oversights hurts kids. Period.