Recently I had someone ask about loading his infant into a car seat in the parking lot safely. I can’t believe I haven’t talked about this. The question comes up all the time and I have been working on this for the last three years (I have a 3-year old son that still needs help getting into the car seat).
You should always be looking around even in your driveway while walking to your car and before loading your kid. In big parking lots you should be looking around even more. Large parking lots are dangerous places. Criminals use parking lots to find their victims. Keep looking around, looking for anyone that is paying attention to you. If someone is paying attention to you and wants to do you harm, you don’t have enough time to get you and the kid into the car. Go back into the store and wait. If the person doesn’t leave, call the police.
One of my favorite places to shop here in Texas is HEB. They will always ask you if you want help out to your car (they offered me help even when I only had a candy bar). If you have lots of stuff or it’s dark and you are alone, take advantage of it. Generally there is more safety in numbers. They HEB person can watch your cart while you load your kid, and you have short-circuited one of the most common ways for someone to get into your space in a parking lot. They will come over to help you with your groceries.
You need to learn how your car door locks work. The best thing you can do is only unlock the door that you are loading your kid into and have the rest locked. You should also consider putting the car seat in the middle (back middle is the safest seat in the car, generally) so you can swing the kid into his seat and jump in next to him. Once inside pull the door closed and lock the car (yes this may not be possible in the summer in South Texas). Then strap the kid in. When you load your stuff you should have all the doors locked except the door you are working out of.
You can also load your stuff first and then put the kid in. I generally put my kid in first so I know he isn’t going to get ran over or snatched. The downside of putting my kid in first is that now if I’m mugged or attacked I can’t give up my car. On the plus side my kid is in the vehicle and safer then in the middle of a mugging. If all the person wants is your wallet consider giving it to them, so you don’t put your kid in the middle of a fight. If someone demands your car after you put your kid in, you have to fight. Consider locking the vehicle with your key fob and then throwing the keys. Yes this will anger your attacker, but you have made it that much harder to get to your kid.
To be Continued Tomorrow…