A 2-year-old boy who died Tuesday after being left in a car for 5 ½ hours in Hillsborough County became the latest in a tragic list of incidents that experts say could be avoided. Here are five suggestions to help prevent leaving a child in a car.
1. Leave your purse, wallet, briefcase or cell phone next to the car seat. You likely won't get far from your vehicle before realizing one of them is not with you.
2. Try the stuffed-animal method. When the car seat is empty, place a stuffed animal in it. When your child is in the car seat, place the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat.
3. Check in with childcare. Have your childcare provider call if your child does not show up, or develop a system with your partner in which one of you calls the other after a drop-off.
4. Get technology that helps. Mobile traffic app Waze has a "child reminder" option that tells users to check their car for children, pets and loved ones when they arrive at their destination. And Tampa company Sense a Life (sensealife.com) is taking pre-orders on its devices that alert a driver if he or she left a child in the car through its app.
5. Use drive-throughs. Avoid the temptation to leave your child in a car, even if just for a minute, by using drive-up banks and restaurants and paying for gas at the pump.
Tips compiled from Times staff, archives, National Safety Council and noheatstroke.org.