This week I was driving down one of Melbourne’s busiest streets and predictably, I was stuck in traffic. Sitting there, I glanced over at a service station to see a little girl who could not have been more than two, standing alone by the bowser.
From where I was sitting, there wasn’t a parent in sight. I was in the middle of a four-lane highway and although my first instinct was to jump out of my car and rush over to her, it just wasn’t possible. Luckily it was then that I saw a man rush towards her and scoop her up in his arms, clearly relieved.
Again, my first instinct was to judge him. How on earth could this girl, his daughter, be at the bowser at a very busy city petrol station, all alone? And then I remembered, I had forgotten the fact that I myself had needed eyes in the back of my head when I had small children. Or eyes in the back of my car.
Let’s face it, even with the best supervision children can be slippery and in the blink of an eye, escape your gaze.
I had forgotten the fact that I myself had needed eyes in the back of my head when I had small children. Image: iStock.
As I sat in the traffic that day I saw the mother then run around the side of the car in the petrol station parking bay, a mixture of distress and relief. I then knew from their exchange, exactly what had just happened.
The father clearly thought that the mother had their daughter and she thought the same thing of him. This is a classic family scenario, whether you have one or five children, lines get crossed, fatigue can cause miscommunication. And sadly, this is how the worst accidents happen.
Holden and Mamamia Women’s Network’s research of over a thousand Aussie mums found parents have real issues trying to multitask and ensure their childrens’ safety when loading and offloading them in and out of cars.