We had a very frightful and traumatic happening here over the weekend. You can probably guess what it was from the title of this post, and I am so glad I can write this as an ALMOST tragic warning.
Soon after taking the photo above, all the kids brushed the sand of the beach from their clothes and feet and we stopped on the way home to get frozen yogurt. Everyone was happy and exhausted when we got home, and we all scattered to rest, read books, or just generally chill out.
3yo Peyton asked if she could stay outside and play with the bubbles I had bought for the beach, and I said "sure."
A little while later, I realized I hadn't seen or heard from her in what seemed like too long, so I asked if anyone knew where she was. No one did.
I called for her and checked her bed to see if she had fallen asleep after our busy day. She wasn't there.
I went all around the house calling her name and started to get a little panicky. I rushed outside hollering for her.
I ran around to the back yard and yelled toward the woods.
I checked the swing set.
The zip line.
I started to run frantically down to the hen house. That's when I noticed the headlights were on in the old farm truck we rarely drive.
I rushed over there and found Peyton lying down inside the truck bawling her little eyes out. I opened the door and scooped her sweaty body up. She fell limp into my arms, sobbing between ragged breaths, "I... needed... you... I... needed... you..."
She had just that week been so proud that she figured out how to open the door to the van and get in all by herself. She just hadn't figured out how to open the doors from the inside yet. I never thought to warn her that she should never get into a vehicle without us.
I am so very thankful the weather was mild that day. Even though the temperature outside only reached about 72 degrees, she was still hot and sweaty by the time I found her. Where we live, in Texas, it isn't unusual for summer temperatures to reach over 100 degrees. This site  shows that even on an 80 degree day, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach 123 degrees. That is enough to kill.
Every year, somewhere around 38 children die in hot cars from heat-related deaths  after being trapped inside.
If she hadn't turned on the headlights, I would have never thought to look in that old truck. I am so thankful God has plans for Peyton to be with us a while longer.
We will be locking our empty vehicles from now on, and we have also had numerous and lengthy discussions with Peyton about getting into cars without us.
Please do the same at your house.