'Forgetting can happen to anyone, but we can prevent it'

20 Nov 2023 09:00pm
Photo for illustration purpose only.
Photo for illustration purpose only.

INCIDENTS of children being left in cars resulting in fatalities are not a new issue, as such occurrences have been happening frequently.

However, these unfortunate incidents have recently been on the rise, leaving a profound impact on the victims' families and society at large.

Just last Wednesday, a two-year-old girl was found dead after allegedly being left in a car in Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.

On Oct 25, a 16-month-old baby girl died after being found unconscious in a car on the premises of a public higher education institution (IPTA) in Kuala Nerus, Terengganu.

On Oct 6, an eight-month-old baby girl died after being left for almost 10 hours in her mother's car from morning to evening in the parking area of Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz (HTCM), Cheras.

These are among the highlights of incidents where children were left in cars, leading to their deaths and all were said to be caused by parents forgetting that their children were in the back passenger seat.

These children were supposed to be taken to childcare centres (taska) or entrusted to caregivers, but they were left in the car for an extended period due to forgetfulness.

Given the increasing frequency of such incidents, the Women, Family, and Community Development Ministry (KPWKM) has established new regulations in the standard operating procedures (SOP) for the management of childcare centres and kindergarten education centres (tadika) to prevent incidents of children being left in cars.

You may also like:

KPWKM mandated that childcare and kindergarten operators immediately contact parents if their child was absent from class as usual.

The author saw these regulations as reasonable and believed they can help prevent the tragedy of children being left in cars by reminding parents not to forget to send their children to childcare centres or kindergartens.

Reverse parking

However, the fact is that no parent intentionally wants to leave their child in the car; it may sometimes be due to fatigue from daily tasks that causes forgetfulness.

The author has found various initiatives suggested by the public on social media.

For example, some suggest placing a note on the car's steering wheel.

This is a good initiative because, as drivers, we must recognise the steering wheel while driving.

So, this initiative may be effective if practiced. Additionally, there is a suggestion to move the baby's car seat to the front passenger seat. This allows parents to always be aware of the presence of young children in the vehicle.

However, from a safety standpoint, this action is not advisable. Moreover, parents may also set reminders or alarms on their smartphones to remind them daily of what needs to be done at specific times.

Also, as drivers, parents can practice reverse parking because it can help take a quick look back to assess the parking situation.

When drivers take a moment to look back, they will notice what is behind them.

As drivers, taking just five seconds to look back after parking can save lives and is suitable for implementation.

Parents can also place their mobile phones, work bags, or wallets behind the seat along with their children.

This indirectly helps address the issue.

Forgetting can happen to anyone, but we can prevent it. Hopefully, such sad incidents will not happen to us with this little sharing.

*Megat Abdul Halim Megat Mohd is an Editor at Sinar