stuck in the car. literally.

Last night Kim was over working on a few things before our Love Light session and Chris got home after taking the kids to watch a JV soccer game. He came in with Gray and when asked he said the girls were out on the trampoline. Thinking nothing of it, Kim and I kept on working.

About 20+ minutes later Chris came in to show us his awesome dinner he’d made and said he was going to call the girls in. Next thing I know the girls come in just sobbing.

He’d left them in the car.

Not on purpose of course, but he’d accidentally closed the door while chasing Grayson after telling the girls they could go play outside on the trampoline.

It was an accident.

And one that ended fine.

But the “what ifs” are still literally haunting me.

I didn’t sleep well last night b/c I kept thinking of THIS photographer who lost her little girl b/c she went to get something out of their hot car and never came back. If it was just two months earlier they would have been so cold I’m not sure what would have happened. Two months from now the heat could have literally killed them in that time.

It gives me the chills.

Not to mention how shaken they were.

I mean, FREAKED OUT comes no where close to describing them when they came in.

We have the child locks set on the back doors and at 3 and 4 years old they never thought to climb into the front seat and try to open those doors (which would have opened easily) or honk the horn. No, they screamed and cried for over 20 minutes, alone and scared. I have tears in my eyes just thinking about what they must have been feeling.

I write this just to remember how precious life is. How fast it can go. What we, as parents, take for granted. That a simple mistake can change lives. To force myself to slow down.

Chris felt awful and has talked to the girls about it a lot. I was gone all day shooting but tomorrow we’re going to teach them how to open the doors from the inside, honk the horn and talk about what to do if anything like that happens again.

And I know this may sound so ignorant, but I’ve never taught them about 911. Bailey doesn’t even know our phone number by heart. So this week I’m going to work on activities to learn those things. I may even call the police/fire dept to see if we can do a test run and actually have her call 911 and talk to someone so she can see what to do. I’m not sure that’s allowed but it seems like a good way to learn.

I just never think “it could happen to us” and yesterday was a major slap in the face that it can. Easily. Without thinking.

I’ll let you know what I come up with for teaching these things and if you have ideas I’d love to hear them!

10 thoughts on “stuck in the car. literally.

  1. Oh Jodi, so glad to hear your girls are okay!!! Thank you so much for posting this important reminder to us busy parents. You have made me more conscious. I will be forwarding this on to all of my parent friends.

  2. SO glad the girls are okay. Sounds like you have some great ideas about how to make sure this doesn’t happen again. I am curious if you can do a practice 911 call…keep us posted on that!

  3. I can only imagine how heartsick this makes you, but being pro-active is the only way to prevent the unthinkable.

    Our local Fire Department has put out CD’s and DVD’s aimed specifically at teaching the little ones what to do in all sorts of emergencies, but they usually only distribute them when the kiddos are in school. Check with your local FD and see if they’ve got any lying around — or hit the Thrift Store. For years it was the most played disc of kids music in our house for all the kids, not just the school agers. They learned when to call 9-1-1, what to say, how to stop-drop-and-roll and a lot of other catchy tunes.

    Hang in there, Mom!

  4. Jodie- I know exactly how you feel. Just a few weeks ago I put Lydia in her car seat, then got distracted and forgot to strap her in. (we had a zip up cover on the seat and I zipped her up without checking her straps first. I ran errands with her for hours including traveling on the highway at least twice. When I got home and realized how tragic that could have been I wept. I hugged her tight and have told anyone who will listen so that I can save others from the same mistake. Know that you are not alone and that learning from this is the best way to grow. I can’t wait to see what you do with your girls. I will have to start teaching Madeline as well.

  5. When my son was turning two I made up a song with my phone number. Nothing fancy…just a simple tune with the numbers. We sang it every time we got in the car. He had it memorized in just a few days. He’s 3-1/2 and the song part has extinguished itself but he still knows the phone number perfectly.

  6. Oh, Jodie, that is terrifying. Wow. I’m so glad it happened at this time of year.

    If it makes you feel better, Athena learned our phone number in safety town before kindergarten, and has since completely forgotten it. The boys and Helena have no idea. And, while Athena knows to call 911, I’m not sure she actually knows how to do it on each of our different phones. On our home phone you dial then press send. On our cell phones you have to unlock the phone, access the dial pad screen, then dial, then hit send…

  7. Please write again about how you decided to teach them about emergencies and 911. Katie knows her phone number and all that, but I’m curious to see if she could make a test call to 911.
    By the way, try using the 8-6-7-5-3-0-9 (Jenny) song to teach your kids their phone number. It works with most numbers, I think.

  8. Oh Jodi!! I am so glad the girls are okay!! I know when I hear stories like this, I know it ‘could be me’ in a heartbeat. Life is so busy and crazy with young children. I’m glad everyone is okay. I second the ‘use a song’ advice to teach your children their home phone number (also include area code!!) I also practiced 9-1-1 with my son but it took him awhile to get it (we had alot of 1-9-9 practices) It helps to post the number by the phone for visual connection too.

  9. Oh, how frightening! I have been thinking about the 911 thing lately, too. There are so many “could have beens” in daily life with little ones. I thank God every day for protecting my kids in so many situations. Sooo glad this one turned out ok.

  10. Found your site thru the photographer Sheye’s site. So glad your story had a safe, happy ending. As a mother of 4, cant imagine how one goes on afterwards when it doesn’t.
    Your pictures are beautiful and inspiring. (from a wannabe photographer/mom:)
    Thanks from CT

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