Dallas Man Shares His Story of Leaving His Child in a Car
How the Child Got Left in the Car
Though Eric Stuyvesant had seen stories in the news about parents who left their kids in the car, he never imagined something like that would happen to him.
Stuyvesant and his wife both have a great deal of parenting experience and the two were raising their eighth child together. However, the experience was not immune to the disruption a change in the morning routine can cause.
Eric was used to driving his son to the babysitter, then dropping his wife off at work. But one morning in June 2015, Eric dropped Michelle off first so that she could get to the office a little earlier. After dropping off Michelle, he resumed to his normal routine, forgetting that Michael, who was 3 years old at the time, was still in his car seat.
After over an hour, Eric ran to the car and said all he could think was, “I killed my son.”
When Eric got to the car, he found Michael sweating, with gray eyes and blue lips. Eric quickly tried to cool Michael’s body temperature, and called the police. Michael was then taken to the hospital, where it was discovered that he had suffered six strokes while in the hot car.
Michael has now almost fully recovered, but his parents still have difficulty discussing the incident. Eric and Michelle hope that their story will help others and will encourage people to try to understand the situation before judging.
Safety Tips to Avoid Heatstroke Tragedies
All information is provided by Kids and Cars:
- “Look Before You Lock” – Get in the habit of always opening the back door to check the back seat before leaving your vehicle to ensure a child does not get left in the backseat.
- Create a reminder to check the back seat. For example, put something that you’ll need when you get out of the car, such as your cell phone or purse, so that you open the back door to retrieve the item.
- Put a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat, and when you go to place the child in the car seat, move the stuffed animal to the front passenger seat so that you have a visual reminder that the child is in the backseat.
- Most tragedies occur during busy times, schedule changes, periods of crisis, or the holidays. Therefore, it is especially important to be extra careful during these times.
- Use drive-thru services when available (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.), so that you don’t have to leave a child alone in the car.
Information on Child Vehicular Heat Strokes
- In 2015, there were 25 child vehicular heat stroke deaths.
- Children have died in hot cars when the outside temperature has been as low as 60 degrees.
- Cracking open the window a little does not help slow the heating process/decrease the maximum temperature. Even with the windows cracked, the interior temperature of a car can reach 125 degrees in just minutes.
- A child’s body overheats 3-5 times faster than an adult body.