Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
Riddhi’s parents Yash and Nilima were nearly perfect couple leading a happy and almost contented life in Virginia USA. They were living their American Dream with settled jobs and a good amount of dollars in their bank accounts which they were saving to pay back their loans back in India.Both Yash and Nilima were IT engineers and tried to manage their work life balance in US with minimal help and their parents visiting from India often to help them with Riddhi. Riddhi a happy toddler was all excited today , her mom and dad were taking her out for a stroll in the park and mom promised to get her an ice-cream if she was all a good girl.
Riddhi was all geared up for the evening behaving all her best as she knew that additional outburst can screw her plans for the evening. Saturdays were usually pleasant but little more hectic than weekdays at family residence with Riddhi all excited to spend some extra time with her parents . She was a naughty little girl and would demand some extra attention on the days when her parents would have minimal help , but since mom had promised her for a stroll in the park along with her favorite ice-cream Riddhi decides not to mess with this treat and be extra nice. Nilima is a person with great planning skills but she has not been able to catch-up with lot of her chores which she usually managed during the week due to her extra working hours at office. The project release has been killing her and many of her colleagues who have been living in USA with negligible domestic help and like many other NRI’s she has been also saving Dollars to pay back her loans in India and the multiplicative factor of 65 does not allow her morally to buy any help which would probably ease her turmoil a little bit as a working parent.
Nilima started her Saturday with a cup of coffee and making some waffles for her daughter who was almost use to American breakfast and mostly would be happy if Indian breaskfast like Poha and Upma’s of the world are not offered to her. The couple decided the strategy for the day and had lot to accomplish withing short duration of time. Millions of things were going on in Nilima’s head – Parlor, Grocery, cleaning, cooking, arranging the cupboards and planning for the week ahead..ufff… too much.She checked the refrigerator and there was nothing to support her for the coming week and it was practically impossible for the couple to rush for groceries during the week days. She decided to finish few of the tasks today and left few of them for Sunday. It was when Riddhi said "Mom we are going to the park in the evening? and my ice cream?" Ohh yes if you be nice the whole day Nilima and Yash said. Family finished their breakfast and Nilima started her cleaning work, meanwhile Yash thought of getting ready Riddhi as soon after they had to leave for their not so favorite task – “Grocery shopping” .
The couple started with Riddhi all buckled up at the back of her car seat. They were heading towards the Walmart , meanwhile Nilima utilized her time checking her pending emails and messages on watsapp groups in the car while Yash drove towards the parking lot. Everything was as per plan it was when the couple looked back , Riddhi was fast asleep in her car seat. Nilima tried to wake Riddhi up but she knew would be very cranky in case her sleep routine was disturbed but she was very confident that since Riddhi was a strong sleeper she would not get up before an hour.The couple decided to leave the child in the car and finish their shopping which would certainly not take more than 45 minutes. They thought it was a calculated move and did not anticipate that anything would go wrong.
While the Sharma’s were busy shopping with definitely their daughter at the back of their mind Nilima gets a call from her office regarding some production bug which had to be attended immediately. She started assisting the team at the office over the phone asking her husband to take care of the shopping as per the list.
Meanwhile back in the car Riddhi was sleeping peacefully as anticipated by her parents it was when the temperatures of the car begin to rise. Riddhi starts feeling uncomfortable and all sweating woke up due to extreme heat inside the car she asks for water hoping her parents were around but starts crying when she does not find her parents near by.Poor girl all trapped in the car with car seat belts latched and the car temperatures rising steadily. Riddhi kept crying in the car almost for 15 minutes inconsolably, it was when a lady passing nearby saw her crying for her parents. It did not take her more than few seconds to understand the situation and broke the glass with the emergency rod which was kept in her own car. Riddhi was rescued with the help of few other people who thought of helping the child first and later called 911 for emergency help.
Meanwhile Sharma’s were totally unaware of the situation still inside the mall with Nilima finishing grocery and her phone call walked down towards the car hoping everything was working as per their plan. Nilima and Yash were almost dead astonished to see cops and flock of people surrounding their car and a stranger holding their daughter in hand. It was when Riddhi shouts “Mommy” and the entire crowd turns their head towards the couple.They were still unable to understand the entire situation when the rescuer narrates the whole incident. Chills ran down their spines and the almost perfect couple did not have words in their mouth. As per the law of united states case of negligence was filed by the cops on Nilima and Yash and if proved guilty would end them up in jail along with heavy fines and further could even lose legal custody of the child.
What we Learn: What happened with Sharma family can happen with any one of us. Why has it been insisted in the story again and again that the couple was nearly perfect and did their activities with planning? Simply because leaving Riddhi in the car was a calculated move and not done in haste.It teaches us planning and calculated moves too can go wrong . The story happened in the US but can happen anywhere.
Please note : Leaving children in the car can prove out to be very fatal. In this case, the child had been lucky but not everyone gets to escape. The temperatures of the car rise within few minutes due to the greenhouse effect and leave the child or the pets trapped inside with no ways to flee.
What we need to understand as parents: That we all make mistakes and no one is perfect but certain blunders are too costly at times and do not have return conduit. At times we really have to think hard about the safety aspects of kids and cannot assume that ” All is well or Everything will be alright”.
As previously mentioned in (one of my child safety blog "The Drowning toddler") It is all about that one chance in life which comes in front of us where we are tested as parents and we all need to win as we cannot afford to lose. Each one of us should understand that the happiness that comes with a child also brings lots of responsibilities ."Having a Baby changes everything". It should change the way you behave and the way you think and act.
Conclusion : Never ever leave your kids in the car alone even for few minutes. Sometimes assumptions can turn out to be fatal. Life is precious and your family makes it worth living, do take care of them always. Be alert Be safe and Be responsible!!
Disclaimer : This story is not a piece of fiction but based on true story and events. Names have been changed to prevent the privacy of the family.