A mother who accidentally killed her child wants to save yours.
Over the weekend, mom Mirlande Jean-Baptiste of Palm Beach spent three hours in a salon getting ready for her wedding day. But while she was getting her hair and nails done, her 4-year-old son Gregory was dying in her hot SUV in the parking lot. Her sister said they had dropped Gregory and three other children off with a friend---Gregory must have snuck back into the car without them knowing. Momlogic spoke with a mother who accidentally left her son in a hot car, ultimately killing him.
When Raelyn Balfour was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter for leaving her 9-month-old son, Bryce, in a hot car for seven-and-a-half hours, many moms on the Internet were outraged. But Raelyn, who's now six months pregnant and has a 14-year-old son from a previous marriage, says it's her life's mission to show parents that this could happen to them--and share strategies on how to prevent that. Momlogic called Raelyn for her side of the story.
"I agree with the parents who say I failed my son," she says. "I did--I took it for granted that I was the perfect mom, super mom, and would never forget my child in the car. I would watch the news and hear these stories, and think: How could someone forget their baby? But I did. Me--a mom who had spent hundreds of dollars Fed-Exing my breast milk to my son when I was traveling for the military so he'd have the very best. That's the kind of mom I was. If you don't think this could happen to you, think again."
She recommends moms make a habit of checking the backseat whenever you exit the car, whether you think your kids are there or not. (Raelyn was certain she'd dropped her son at daycare, even though she hadn't.) Try leaving your purse or briefcase in the backseat, so you'll have to retrieve it before leaving the vehicle. If it's possible, don't put your child's car seat directly behind you. Make sure your child is in your field of vision at all times. "My son was behind me and I couldn't see him in the mirror," Raelyn explains. This grieving mother is also working with kidsandcars.org to help create legislation mandating safety devices in cars that will warn or prevent parents from accidentally leaving a child in a car. "I made a promise to my son in the hospital as I held him and had to kiss him good-bye," she says, sobbing. "I told him every day for the rest of my life that I will tell the story no matter what ridicule it will bring or how hard it will be to say it. I made a promise that my son's death won't be in vain. It won't be for nothing."