We Need To Talk About That “Hot Car” Meme

Have you seen this floating around the interwebs lately?

hot car

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.

hot car 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.

4 thoughts on “We Need To Talk About That “Hot Car” Meme

  1. Absolutely yes! Found this article as I’m searching for memes that say this in a nutshell. I almost forgot my daughter once, I’m working while my husband stays at home, baby usually is with him while I run errands. I now always take off a shoe. It only takes one mistake to lose a kid. It should be more socially acceptable to take extra precautions than not, and I’m sick of seeing how bad a parent I am because I need a reminder. I’m human, I made a mistake. One that could have been fatal. A mistake that will never happen again because I take extra precautions now. As every parent can, and should without feeling judged.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Isn’t the real pint here that we should never, under any circumstance, leave our kids (or any others for whom we are responsible) in a car, whatever the temperature. The same goes for animals.


    • Well, yes. The scope of this post was intentionally narrow. A thing that happens in the winter where I live is parents leave a running car “parked” while they run into the store to get something so the kids don’t have to go out in the cold. It’s a car thieving/kidnapping scenario waiting to happen.


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