There But for the Grace of God Go We

Thanks to social media, we are more or less aware of every tragedy, every freak accident, every disaster that takes place around the country and the world.

It happened again recently in Huntsville, so it seems so much more personal. I bet many of you, like myself, will have trouble sleeping thinking of the “what if” scenarios and trying to understand how something so horrible can happen. And what kind of parent could let it happen.

I was almost that parent in 2005.


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A disruption in my morning routine was all it took. A frantic call from work during the usual morning commute to daycare, then the office. Except, in the swirl of work conversation I slipped into auto-pilot and forgot the daycare stop. (I was also pregnant with my second child but didn’t know it yet.) My only saving grace after arriving in my parking spot at work was turning to see the bucket car seat still in its base – an indication that my sleeping baby was still in the car.

Every time I think about it I literally feel like crying… what if we had a different car seat then? WHAT IF what if what if what if


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For parents who think how can this happen? How could ANYONE be so irresponsible/distracted/stupid/forgetful/unfit/evil? I can only share my own story and ask others to share theirs. If you haven’t yet read the Pultizer Prize winning Washington Post story about the implications and consequences of these tragedies, you should, and read it all the way through. It provides many different perspectives from families who have been through this special type of hell.

No, it’s not OK or excusable, and no one is condoning the incident. Many people have the tendency to lash out in anger or fear – if they can lay blame and show that the parent did something wrong to cause this tragedy then it makes them feel like it can’t happen to them. The comments on local news outlets reflect that vitriol.


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To me, only empathy and support is in order for this grieving family in our community. Because it could have easily been me, and it could have been you. There but for the grace of God go we, every day.

Instead, I ask you to share your own #CloseCall and strategies for keeping it happening to your family. Parenting can be lonely and isolating enough. Let’s come together to talk about ways to keep this from happening again. Maybe another mom or dad will be reading your comments and find a solution they can implement into their own routines. Instead of condemnation, I ask you for your stories and ideas.

NOTE: Per our site comment policy on social media and our website, and the deeply emotional nature of this tragedy, we will delete any comments that are inappropriate to this discussion, or that attack other parents. There are other forums where you can post comments of that nature, but this is not one of them. That said, we welcome comments of story-sharing and support.

Further Reading & Safety Ideas