'if I Did This, Anyone Could Do This': Mom Speaks Out After Leaving Toddler in the Car

“We are always so much closer to the end than any of us realize.”
ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
Jul 2017
Black and white photo of mom holding toddler by a body of water
Photo: Britta Eberle via Facebook

So far this year, 18 children have died from heatstroke after being left alone in a car. How does the unimaginable scenario of leaving your child in a car happen? After much hesitation, one mom is sharing just how it happened to her.

“Do you see this little girl? Today I did the unthinkable and forgot about her in the car,” blogger Britta Eberle wrote on the Facebook page for her site, This Is Motherhood. “Here’s how it happened: our family arrived at a friend’s house and in our excitement we all darted out, assuming that someone else had remembered to grab the youngest member of our clan. But no one remembered her. And she sat for about 20 minutes crying alone before one of us grabbed her. It was such a small mistake but it could have had devastating consequences.”

A car’s interior temperature can rise nearly 20 degrees Fahrenheit in 10 minutes. Leaving baby alone for any amount of time is a dangerous, especially in the summer, according to The Weather Channel.

Initially, Eberle, a mom of two, didn’t want to go public with her parenting lapse. “Part of me doesn’t want to share this,” she says. “I don’t want the world to know how badly I’ve failed. But then I think that I have to share this. I have to own up to my mistakes. I have to tell the world how far I am from perfect. And how if I did this, anyone could do this. And that scares me but also makes me judge a little less and makes me pay attention whole lot more.”

Luckily for Eberle, this story had a happy ending—and she’s counting her blessings.

“Tonight I snuggled my baby girl to bed. I read her a story, turned out the light, and stayed beside her listening to her breath got deeper and slower as she fell asleep. And felt so incredibly lucky,” she says. “We are always so much closer to the end than any of us realize.”

“Hug your babies tight and practice forgiveness,” she says. “Forgive those that make mistakes, even if the person who you need to forgive is yourself."

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