Making backseat reminders a habit

A moment's distraction, a lifetime of loss

Aisyah Basaruddin
Aisyah Basaruddin
04 Feb 2024 02:03pm
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Photo by 123rf
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Photo by 123rf

LAST night, the nation was shaken by the tragic demise of a five-year-old girl who was inadvertently left unattended in a car for approximately four hours at a Shah Alam hospital parking lot.

This heart-wrenching incident, commonly termed the 'forgotten child syndrome,' is regrettably not an isolated occurrence and has been reported on multiple occasions.

Despite ongoing awareness campaigns, such incidents persist, remaining a potential risk in the future.

This distressing incident can befall anyone, regardless of their status, occupation, or circumstances.

A momentary lapse of attention can lead to the unimaginable loss of a child's life.

Analysing cases from last year until now, the majority of victims are aged between eight months and five years old.

This unfortunate circumstance frequently affects women, particularly mothers, who find themselves overwhelmed by the demands of work and childcare simultaneously.

Life's unpredictable challenges can turn the multitasking abilities of mothers into a tragic incident, leaving a lasting trauma.

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Compounding their trauma, these mothers may face charges under Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act 2001 for alleged negligence and child neglect.

So, what preventive measures can be taken to avoid the recurrence of such incidents?

Several recommendations or routines can be considered:

  • Check Before Exiting: Develop a habit of looking back before leaving the vehicle, signaling parents to always be aware of their surroundings.
  • Use Everyday Items: Place essential items like shoes, handbags, or mobile phones next to the child's seat, as these are daily essentials unlikely to be forgotten.
  • Warning Stickers: Affix warning stickers on the side or rearview mirrors to embed the memory of repeatedly checking for children in the backseat.
  • Community Vigilance: Emphasise the role of security guards overseeing each car in a particular area, encouraging positive collaboration rather than suspicion.

In any case, it is hoped that such incidents serve as a lesson and a reminder for parents to maintain vigilance and monitor every movement of their children.

The community should unite to break the cycle of repeated incidents, aiming for a decrease rather than an increase in reported cases. Netizens are also urged to choose their words carefully, avoiding anger, harsh language, or placing unwarranted blame on the parents, as the potential for such incidents exists for anyone.