I’m usually quite garrulous but this afternoon I am somewhat at a loss for words – having read the news today (oh boy) about the two babies in Indiana that were left in their parents’ cars in this sweltering heat. A 4 month old is dead, having been left in the car outside her grandparents home; and a 16 month old is struggling for her life after her “mother” (using that term loosely) left her in the car while she went clothes shopping. (yeah…. clothes shopping) The temp in one car got over 125 degrees…. Its unconscionable – and I truly hope they lock up these “idjits” and throw away the keys.
My heart goes out to the rest of their families, but I have no sympathy for the perpetrators whatsoever. If I think about this too much I will start to cry. I can feel it coming on now. This happens every summer in the US somewhere. I cannot imagine why or how anyone could forget that they have a baby in the back seat of their car. No excuse is acceptable. Becoming a parent is a priviledge. I honestly think people should have to take a test and get certification before being allowed to reproduce. They would have to score highly in the common sense category definitely. And also achieve high scores in the empathy and sensitivity categories. Why am I so indignant about this? Pull up a seat.
First, my husband and I spent years going through infertility hell. I would get my hopes up month after month only to have them broken, scattered, and stomped on. I’ll have the full story later on in my “Tales from the Northland” series but suffice to say for now that it truly was 5 years of hell before our first baby came along. and more years – and a horrific miscarriage – in between the oldest and the youngest. (There’s 6 years between the girls) My husband got to the point where he wouldn’t let me watch the news in the evenings because if there was a story about child abuse or neglect I would become very emotional. I could not, cannot fathom how anyone could abuse the privilege of child rearing. I would have given my right arm to have had any of those children. The Susan Smith case sent me over the edge – I cried on and off for days.
Secondly, it just offends my sensibilities as an intelligent adult that someone could be that frickin STUPID. Seriously buddy, you FORGOT about your kid – your most precious possession,and YOU FORGOT they were in your car????? What kind of a wet brain does something so profoundly, stupidly horrible??? I prefer to believe they were forgotten rather than callously disregarded. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the possibility that someone would leave a kid in a hot car and knowingly walk away. I can’t say I don’t think there’s people out there who would do that though – I just prefer to not think about it and thereby sleep better at night.
How do we stop senseless tragedies like this? No easy answers for sure. In the case of the 4 month old both parents were teenagers. Not that I’m trying to pidgeonhole anyone but statistically speaking most teens are not the most responsible of people. Most of them are still learning how to be responsible adults but they’re not there yet. Watch “Teen Mom” if you don’t believe me…. Just another reason why smart teens should be practicing safe sex if they are going to be sexually active. The mother in the other case with the 16 month old looks older mid to late twenties perhaps. Words fail me with this one, who doesn’t even have the sad sack excuse of teenage-hood to fall back on…
1. Get a baby sitter if you need to run errands or get out of the house for awhile. Leave the baby at home with a responsible adult.
2. If someone other than who normally brings the child to day care is doing so, make sure the day care provider knows about the change in the usual routine, and make sure you, as the other parent, call the driver parent to make sure they drop off the child.
3. What about putting a small stuffed animal on the dashboard whenever there is a child in your car? Or some other tangible reminder that you have precious cargo on board.
4. Be vigilant. Don’t be afraid to glance into cars in parking lots as you are walking past them, especially in the hot weather. You might possibly save a life.
5. Of course, don’t leave your pets in a hot car either – for all of the same reasons.
Please feel free to leave other suggestions and comments as always.
- (video) Indiana 2012: Two Infants Left in Hot Cars by Parents; One Dies & One Hospitalized (brittaj17.wordpress.com)
- Spokane Police warn against leaving kids alone in hot cars (krem.com)
- Forgotten – A.C.T. for Child Car Safety (bize-mom.com)
- The Costs of Having Children (aptusinsurance.com)
- Mother arrested after forgetting baby on roof of car (azfamily.com)
- Police: Baby left in truck, father arrested for child abuse (azfamily.com)