We’re on our way home from a fun, relaxing weekend at my brother’s lake house. Shore traffic has us in bumper to bumper traffic with a toddler and baby in the back seat, me driving, and Daddy in the passenger seat. What should’ve only been a 2 hour trip was turning into a 3 plus hour tour. Gotta love family road trips in the summer! About 3 hours in to the ride my 14 month old started losing it. No binky, toy, or song could console this kid. My 4 yr. old keeps chiming in, “Mommy, Victor’s crying.” Like I can’t hear it. We decide to give him a snack. One that he’s eaten in the past plenty of times, so I think he’s good with safely eating it. We do this all the time, right? Fussing kid in car, offer snack, bring back the peace. My husband has never been ok with the kids eating in the car while we’re driving, but I figured he’s in the front seat if they need help, and they eat these foods with no problem all the time. Right? Wrong!
As we’re moving at 75mph on a crowded turnpike, my baby starts to choke on his bar! I yell at my husband to hurry up and get back there to help him. I’m flying to try and cross 3 lanes to get to the side of the road to stop, my heart’s pounding while I’m listening to my baby choking. As my 6’2, 230 lb. husband tries to dive in to the back seat of our car to help my son, he accidentally kicks my gear shift, thank God into a second drive mode, and not neutral or reverse. Finally, my husband was able to get the food out of his mouth, and the sweet sound of my baby crying filled the car. He’s ok! My God! I was shaking like a leaf!
What if my husband wasn’t there? What if my husband kicked the gear shift into neutral or reverse on a crowded turnpike? What if the food was lodged deeper into my son’s throat, and I couldn’t pull over in time to get him out of his car seat to help him? What if? What If? What if? These are questions we should all ask ourselves. Is it really ever safe to give our kids food in the back seat while we’re driving? Could we ever get there in time to save our child from choking? We’re sitting powerless in the driver’s seat! Even my 4 yr. old sometimes eats his breakfast in the back seat on our way to school if we had a late start. Typical, right? Not anymore! I learned my lesson. Thank God it wasn’t through a tragedy. From now on, we stop to eat. No exceptions. We all just have to learn how to be ok with a screaming baby in the car, which is much better than a choking one.
I’m a big believer in everything happening for good reason. Preventing this from ever happening again is good reason enough for me. I hope it is for you.
Cheers to safe, happy travels!