Persuade the Tadpoles daycare app to send auto-notifications of absences to parents

This petition made change with 481 supporters!

Recently an acquaintance of ours accidentally left her 15-month-old baby in the car; she changed routines and forgot to drop the baby off at daycare and drove straight to work, kind of on autopilot. The child died in the heat.

What safeguards can we put in place to make sure this doesn't happen to other children? No prevention measure is 100%. But many clever safeguards to lessen the risk have been proposed – putting a shoe in the backseat, sensors in car seats,  setting an alarm on one's cell phone, for example. Another relatively simple safeguard would be for daycares and childcare app providers to implement no-show policies. If a parent has gone on autopilot and forgotten to drop a child at daycare, a notification could be sent to the parent and coparent and a tragedy could be prevented. 

Tadpoles is the app that our daycare uses that sends auto-notifications to parents at the beginning of the day ("child has been dropped off") and at the end of the day (what the kids had for lunch, what games they played, etc.) So our simple suggestion is this: why not ALSO send caregivers auto-notifications if a child doesn't show up?

We have suggested to the Tadpoles app providers that they implement a no-show notification system but they have told us that they have no plans to do it right now. So please join us in petitioning Tadpoles to update their app with this feature. If they do it other daycares and app providers might just do it as well. If this measure saves just one child it will have been worth it. 

Some of you might be thinking "well this would never happen to ME" and "only bad parents accidentally leave babies in cars" and "what kind of society do we live in that parents have to be reminded of their own children"? and "a good parent doesn't need a reminder."

If these thoughts are going through your head I ask you to take a step back and ask yourself: is the principle of "but you shouldn't *need* a reminder" more important than saving a child from a horrific death? What kind of person are you if you elevate your disgust and judgment of frazzled parents above an opportunity to save babies from death and suffering? Bottom line – this happens to about 35 children a year. And whether it happens because parents are just bad parents is really irrelevant.

I don't believe that only bad parents make this tragic mistake – I think it can happen to ANY parent given the right cocktail of sleep deprivation, autopilot, and bad luck. I am a good parent. I am a loving and careful parent. Yet I know what it is to be on autopilot and make mistakes. The only difference between me and other parents is that I have been luckier. But for the sake of argument, let's assume it's only bad parents who accidentally leave children in cars. Don't the children of bad parents deserve protection too? At the end of the day we can shame parents or we can save kids but we can't do both. "Only bad parents do this" is a dangerous and destructive narrative that is going to get more babies killed. Maybe if we start talking honestly about these tragedies we can save lives in the future. Maybe together we can encourage daycares, app providers, and car manufacturers to join us in finding solutions.

Let's start with Tadpoles, which is a major provider of daycare auto-notifications. We can hope that other companies will follow suit.


Today: Kathleen is counting on you

Kathleen Shriver needs your help with “Parents, grandparents, family members, and anyone concerned for the safety of children : Persuade the Tadpoles daycare app to send auto-notifications of absences to parents”. Join Kathleen and 480 supporters today.