By now, you have probably heard about Terry Bartley, a North Carolina father that made a video demonstrating what happens when young kids are left alone inside a hot car. He was motivated by the death of a 22 month-old toddler named Cooper Harris, whose father left him in a car for nine hours. The story appears in this week’s edition of Inglewood Today.
There was also another story about a young mother who left her baby strapped in the car seat while she ran into a convenience store. It only took 10 seconds to have a carjacker drive away with the baby in tow.
For seven hours of hell, the young mother cried, prayed, worried and blamed herself for what could have been the last time she would see her daughter alive. The car thief abandoned the child in a grassy area of town. She was found in the car seat, bitten by insects, with a dirty diaper, extremely hungry but alive. “I’ll never do that again,” the mother said..
Leaving small children in a car unattended should be a no-brainer. Yet, according KidsandCars.org, last year 184 children died from being left alone in cars. Causes range from heat stroke to falling from vehicles. Seventeen children have died this year due to heat stroke alone.
Human beings have been known to do some pretty dumb things, and behave in ways that contradict rational judgment. We know this. So when someone like Bartley comes along and makes a video to shake some sense back into parents who might consider leaving their kids in a hot car, he has my applause.
The viral Youtube video is a testament to what a difference one person can make. The “Hot Car Challenge” has received 1.1 million hits since its debut on June 20. Who knows how many more lives will be impacted now that the clip has inspired others to join in and make their own versions. Some families have uploaded videos of children and dogs to dramatize the problem.
Telling a story with video is one of the most powerful ways to get your point across. We all feel sad for the innocent young victims. Yet, Bartley found a unique way to present that problem and spread his warning all over the world.
Though he never set out to gain publicity, putting himself in the place of a young child and recording his experience inside the hot car attracted more attention that he could have imagined. More important, it issued a sober reminder to parents never to needlessly risk their child’s life.
There are a myriad of issues in our community and in our world. We can complain about them or we can find a way to raise awareness and support. We can shake our head and say, “That’s a shame,” or find a way to magnify our voice. Bartley found a way. What about us?