Dear Lady at the Aldi store today,
Today was probably the luckiest day of your life. I mean, sure, you didn’t look like you knew that when I saw you. You looked, what was that? Embarrassed? Ashamed?
Nah – you were pissed off. You looked furious when I saw you, but perhaps now you’ve had time to think, you realise how fucking lucky you were today.
How? Firstly, you were lucky today that it was our van that parked next to your navy coloured little hatch with the windows cracked.
Then you were so very lucky that my husband stayed at the car to make a phone call while I went in to shop, and so lucky that the 30ºC+ heat of the carpark made him get out of the car and walk around while he was on the phone.
You were very lucky that I can smash out a weekly shop for a family of six faster than humanly possible, because grocery shopping – particularly manic, long-weekend grocery shopping – can kiss my arse.
Fuck, you were so lucky that my husband noticed your little boy in the car and began talking to him to ask if he was alright. He wasn’t, you know? He was hot. He told my husband he was feeling too hot in your car.
And there’s another reason you are lucky – my husband was able to befriend your little boy in about 30 seconds flat. I’m sure you’ve taught him stranger danger, but his sweaty little self forgot all about those lessons as he melted in your car. If my kind, caring husband was a different kind of person he could have easily persuaded your son out of your car and into ours.
Think about that for a minute.
You were so lucky that your son didn’t attempt to come find his mamma.
He might have, easily. You may have only opened your windows a crack, but you left your doors unlocked. Yeah, I still can’t process any kind of logic there.
Did you notice today that our massive van was parked on one side of your little car, and another big van was parked on the other? If he had decided to wander, I doubt that any car would have seen his little three or four-year old body dart out of your car-space without an adult by his side. *shudders*
You are so lucky – again – that it was my calm husband on the scene, because when I came out of the store and saw what was going on he was able to keep my “What the fucks?” down to a respectable level by reminding me how easy it is to make a mistake.
Oh, I know you didn’t feel lucky when he ran inside and told the management what was going on. I know you didn’t feel lucky when your number-plate was called out over the intercom. But you were. You so were.
Because I was now standing at the car, talking to your son with the sweat beads on his little face, and I was about .7 seconds away from reaching my own boiling point.
Again, you were lucky that it was my husband I saw first – before you – walking out of the store doors. Lucky that I could read the expression on his face that somehow managed to remind me that we are all just doing out best. That we all fuck up sometimes. That we all do shit that maybe we shouldn’t have.
But FUCK. You nearly fucked up massively. DO YOU GET IT? Do you know, yet, how lucky you are?
I don’t know why you were surprised when someone called you out for leaving your toddler unsupervised, in a furnace, in a car park, with busy shoppers driving maniacally in and out to stock up for a long weekend. But you definitely seemed annoyed when you stormed out, pushed past and grabbed your child to take him back into the store because you STILL weren’t finished.
Fuck me, he could have been out there for even longer?
Finally, you can thank your lucky stars that I have this blog that allows me vent – because I took photos today. Photos of your child in the car alone. Photos of the temperature gauge. Photos of your number plate. I’m still not sure what I should do with them, because I know I would hate to get called out on every parenting error I make – but damn it – I hope this post finds it’s way to you, and you realise the ‘might’ve-beens’ of your decision today.
Buy a lottery ticket lady, because whether you know it or not, today is your motherfucking, lucky day.
POST UDPATE: I slept on it, then called up the Police Station in the morning. They will look into it, and it is likely that there will be a DOCS notification – which doesn’t feel that great, but is certainly the right thing to do. Thanks for all of your advice.
Some stuff to know …
Don’t leave your kids in the car while you run errands. It’s shit. It’s a shit, dangerous thing to do.
- On a typical Australian summer day, the temperature inside a parked car can be 20ºC to 30ºC hotter than the outside temperature.
- The temperature inside a car can reach dangerous levels quickly; 75% of the temperature rise occurs within the first 5 minutes of closing and leaving the car. Large cars heat up just as fast as smaller ones.
- Leaving the windows down slightly has little effect on the inside car temperature. Tests conducted by RACQ have shown that when car windows are left open by 10cm, the inside temperature is only 5 degrees C cooler than with the windows closed.
- Young children are more sensitive to heat than older children or adults as their body temperature can rise 3 to 5 times faster. This puts them at greater risk of heatstroke and other health risks as their body temperature reaches dangerous levels much sooner.
Read the Kidsafe Victoria ‘Hot Cars’ fact sheet for more information.