Thursday

In the News

Thursday, June 18, 2009
Nanny Hired Online is Charged with Abusing Boy - Vermont
A man who traveled to several states to look after children and recently met a family through an online nanny service has been charged with sex crimes involving a boy in his care, a case a police detective called disturbing because of the man's efforts to find children.

Douglas J. Shepherd, 23, of Fort Myers, Fla., was charged Wednesday after he had gone to a Vermont hospital and told doctors he was having suicidal thoughts because of his contact with the 10-year-old boy he had been caring for, court records say.

"This case is really disturbing because the offender is going out of his way to find his victims and he's getting paid for it," said Katz, of the Northwest Unit for Special Investigations, which investigates sex crimes. Katz said Thursday that Shepherd and the Vermont family he worked for both said they'd made contact through California-based eNannySource. (continued)

Babysitter Charged in Disappearance - Indiana
Police say they are suspicious about a babysitter's account of the disappearance Tuesday of a child in her care in Gary, Ind.

Jada Justice, nearly 3, is missing, and her caregiver, Angelica Castillo, 18, of Hobart, Ind., has been charged with neglect of a dependent, the Gary Post-Tribune reported.

Castillo, a cousin of Jada's mother, Melissa Swiontek of Portage, told police the child disappeared from her car at Glen Park Gas in Gary. She said she left the baby in the unlocked car while she went in to buy milk.

NYPD: Babysitter Arrested After Tot Drowns - New York
New York City police have arrested a woman in connection with the death of an 11-month-old boy who was found unconscious in her home.

Police say 28-year-old Krystal Khan was arrested Monday and charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

Police say authorities responded to a call of an unconscious child at Khan's home in Queens that morning. The child, identified as James Farrior, was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Unfortunate Mistake Leads to Death - Louisiana
A family was forced to bury their 5 month old boy early Tuesday morning after his tragic death.

Saint Martinville Police say the baby boy, Keiland Rebert, died on Thursday when his mother forgot him in the back of her car for almost eight hours while she worked, with the windows rolled up and alone.

When she got off work at 3:30 she went to the babysitter to pick up her child not realizing that she never dropped him off. When the 24-year-old mom arrived at the babysitter's home she realized he wasn't there. Instead, police say, she discovered him dead in his car seat.

Authorities say autopsy results revealed the baby died of hyperthermia, but tell us they believe the tragic death was an accident.

80 comments:

nanny said...

How do you FORGET your baby in the car??? How do you not see the baby as you are exiting or entering the car? I'm not saying any good would come of prosecuting, but I don't see how this is "a tragic accident" and not neglect.

MinuteMuggle said...

what horrible stories, all of them.

Perhaps the one that disturbs me the most is the last: we have discussed this issue before on ISYN and it is very hard for me to understand how a parent could forget their child in a car. I really really really do not understand this. In my opinion, they must be either mentally unfit to be parents, or on drugs. I just don't understand how anybody could ever, ever, ever do this. I just don't get it. It breaks my heart, such a senseless way for an innocent child to die.

I do think that legal action should be taken against all of these parents. It is their fault that their child died: we need justice for the child and all of the other people he/she was taken away from. Justice for the grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, teachers, and most of all justice for the child.

This was not just a tragic accident: it is a case of extreme neglect, in my opinion.

mom said...

They all make me mad.

What I don't understand is why the man in the first one even bothered driving from state to state when so many children seem to be signed up for this kind of abuse on Craig's List alone that surely he could have feasted to his heart's content locally. I seriously think parents ought to be charged in these cases...where they hire some unknown man (or woman...but good grief, who hires a strange man?? I'm sorry, but just not that many grown men want to babysit. Red flag. )over the internet to babysit.

The last one has me torn. I wonder how anybody could possibly forget their child...but then a part of me could see how it could happen if a different parent does the drop off one day and goes on "autopilot" to work out of habit and forgets. You know how you're driving somewhere that you've gone a million times and you suddenly are there and you realize that you zoned out for the entire drive? On the one hand, when I think of the terrible death the innocent child has, I want the parents to be punished. But on the other hand, if it was truly one of those gut wrenching accidents, what good is prison going to do to a person who probably wishes they were dead already because their child is gone? I'm all for making child seat alarms mandatory and then punishing to the fullest extent of the law anybody who fails to use one and harms a child. Just like car seats. It is 100% unacceptable for children to die unnecessarily like this. I know I will get flamed for this...but I think the larger problem is that so many parents have made their children such a small priority in their daily lives that it is not unusual for them to not notice for 8 or 9 hours at a stretch when their child is unaccounted for. Drop them off. Forget them all day long. Pick them up hours later. Ever notice how rare this is among parents who take care of their own children? They would notice something wrong the first time they went to the bathroom and nobody came crying to the door to sit on their laps. Now, I realize that there are many people who have zero choice as to whether to stay home with their kids. But at least check in a few times a day if you are in that position. That way if something is amiss, it will be noticed quickly. These are not bags of potatoes that you store in somebody else's cellar while you go about your day.

momkat said...

The best way to avoid forgetting a baby in a car is to put your purse/briefcase, and the baby's diaper bag on the front seat of the car next to you. When you pick up the diaper bag, you'll remember your baby in the back seat. We have "back to sleep" campaigns--I think there should also be a "bag up front" campaign.

MinuteMuggle said...

Mom,
I totally understand why you are torn. A small part of me is as well. But I guess to answer your question, in my opinion, the purpose of sending someone to jail is to allow justice to prevail. Although they may be living in "their own jail" that does not change the fact that they broke the law, at least in my opinion. Just because someone feels guilty about a crime, does not mean that their grief puts them above the law. This happens all the time. Perhaps if we start jailing these negligent mothers, it would curb this horrible act of negligence.

I do of course sympathize with any parent who loses their child, regardless of the reason. I am sure the parent feels grief that we can not imagine. But my sympathy does not change my opinion that they should be in jail. As I said, to me it is simply a matter of justice.

Momkat said...

MinuteMuggle,
Then everyone should be charged in any accidental death. If a parent lets their 11 year old go out and play and he accidentally gets hit and killed by a car, should the parent be charged with negligence for allowing the child to be outside unsupervised. If the parent was outside watching; chances are the death wouldn't have happened. If a 2 year old accidentally chokes on a toy the older brother was playing with and dies while the mom is in the bathroom--should the mom be charged for negligence that led to her toddler's death? I think accidents are accidents. They're extremely tragic. But I don't agree that they should be punishable by law.

mom said...

I LOVE the purse and diaper bag toegther idea. And the campaign to get this idea out to people.

I think if we get the word out across the entire country (Like we did with car seats)that this is a serious issue, and it will no longer be tolerated as an accident because steps A, B and C are now being offered to all parents as failsafe ways to prevent this problem, THEN we can prosecute in good conscience, knowing that everybody had KNOWLEDGE of the danger and a CHOICE (or better yet, make some law that X must be done to prevent forgetting when an infant is in the backseat) to participate in making this "mistake" virtually impossible by taking certain simple steps.

You have to have intent to make it a crime...or a failure to do something that a normal person would do to make it negligence. If mandatory precautions were ignored then there would be no question, ever, that a parent who did this would have committed an actual crime. Then I would be all for heavy prosecution.

I'm not excusing anybody. This makes me so sick. But I'm not perfect and so I can't expect that nobody else ever has a lapse. I like to think this could have never happened to my children because I was so attentive to them...but one day I asked my husband to pick my son up from kindergarten, and he forgot. It took us almost an hour to find him....with as many school staff as the school could spare searching along with us. One of the scariest hours of my entire life. (Thank God I called him at work shortly after I had expected him home.) Was it negligent of him? Probably. Was it purely an accident? Yes. Had the worst happened, would my husband have learned any sort of valuable lesson for his crime in prison? No. Would I have killed him before the police could even get to him? Probably. I asked him several times, what I think every time I see one of these baby in the car stories..."HOW could you forget about your own child?" He said he was about to leave, got an important phone call, went into autopilot working mode, and soon his intended deviation from his daily routine flew right out of his head. He was white as a ghost when he flew through the door that afternooon, without our son, gasping, and screamed, "Is he here?!!! He isn't at the school anymore!!!" It was an accident. Thank God it turned out OK for us, It doesn't for everybody.

PS MY very sweet little boy turned out to be sitting in the school office the entire time, waiting patiently for me to come pick him up. I found this out when I went into the school office, resigned to tell them that we needed to get the police because he was gone. There sat my son with his backpack in his lap. I ran over and collapsed on the floor by his feet and sobbed uncontrollably into his lap. (You should have seen the confused look on his face.) Then a school employee who was standing there, and had been searching for him the entire time, said, "Is this Timmy?" I looked up and nodded. He said, "Didn't you hear us calling you over the loud speaker, son?" My son said, "Yes. And I didn't know why because I was already here." (They had been repeatedly and frantically paging him to come to the office immediately.) He was sitting five feet in front of the microphone and had been face to face with the person paging him the entire time...confused. He was five. He thought everybody in the world knew his name.
I was so nerovus about kidnapping I had told him many times that if I ever wasn't there after school to not wait for me at all, but to instead go straight to the office and not move until I arrived. He had obeyed me and also seemed confused that I had not looked there first since I was the one who had told him to do that.

MinuteMuggle said...

Mom and Momcat,

You talk a good game but I am still unconvinced. This is a case of GROSS NEGLIGENCE. A normal person would not forget their infant/toddler in a car. I see this as a "tragic accident" that could easily have been prevented by a normal person. Prison is not just about "learning a lesson." It is about justice. Justice for the baby who is DEAD.

I'm sorry but I think this should be punishable by law. And no, I do not think, momcat, that your other examples come close to this. I stand firm on my beliefs. This is just ridiculous that these moms continue and continue and continue to walk. Sure, put a "bag in front" campaign in place. It couldn't hurt. Neither could jailing these negligent mothers: it would serve to show other mothers that this is a serious offense. You are assuming that the parents who do this (and there have been many, just read the news: far far too many in recent years) are normal. Ok: let's go with that. Maybe other "normal" parents will start to understand the seriousness of this issue if these women are prosecuted.

I guess it should be up to a jury to decide. And I can guarentee that if I were on the jury I would vote guilty, hands down.

mom said...

And PS

These kinds of stories are why we did without whatever we had to go without materially to make sure one of us was with our kids every day.

I know not everybody who wants to stay at home has that luxury, and a really have so much compassion for those of you in that position. And bless you for doing what you need to do to support your children.

But if you DO have a choice to do so, I do strongly urge parents to think about it. It's such a short time until they start school. And there are so many wonderful things to do with small kids that you will have the time of your life enjoying them with your little angels. After they go to school full time, a couple of hours after school with a babysitter until you arrive hom isn't that big of a deal. But those baby and toddler years you will never get back. I recommend not missing them if you don't have to. Children are the biggest gift you could ever, ever hope to get. Treasure every moment, because they're not like diamonds...kids have a very short shelf life.

mom said...

Minute Muggle,

Here's an idea. Would you get behind this? In cases where it seems plausible that it was truly an accident by otherwise caring, competent parents, what if they are sentenced to a certain period of time where they must appear before groups of people and discuss what happened to them? Like they do with drunk drivers? Maybe it could be a mandatory part of childbirth classes, or some other place where parents of infants are likely to gather, and the talks could be given by parents of children who died like this?

I agree that some cases seem more negligent to me than others. And there are many that I feel need prosecuted...but there's sometimes that one where I have to step back and say, "Wait. These people seem like pretty competent parents otherwise. This may truly have been an accident."

When somebody goes into a bar and leaves kids in a car, fry them. When they go inside to visit a friend, or take a nap and leave the kids outside on purpose, fry them. When they run into a store "quickly" and leave kids in the car to avoid hassling with them, fry them. There are so many times when people do this intentionally...not meaning to let the kids die, but leaving them there on purpose because it's easire for the to do so. Those are heinous and I think they need punished. But it's those cases where a different parent takes the kid to daycare one day and then forgets because it's not his usual duty that get me thinking...maybe this was truly an accident. I feel unbelievably bad for people that have a true laps and lose their child because of it. Don't you think those people would give both legs, both arms and all their teeth to turn the clock back and have that day, and their child, back again?

MinuteMuggle said...

I liked your post mom. You are a truly good person which reads clearly in your words.I also think you are a very smart person and I totally respect your side of this issue. But...lol I still disagree.

I think having these parents speak would be a great idea: I think it would give them a nice hour break now and then from prison, which is where I still think they belong.

When you lift your baby up, walk to the car, strap them in and get behind the wheel, you are completely responsible for this child. That includes not "oops" forgetting about them.

As far as your last question, I don't know. I assume that a normal person would do anything to get their child back. But I still hold that a normal person would not forget their child in the back of their vehicle while they go about their day at work. It doesn't make sense to me and it never will. It has been happening far too often lately. It needs to stop.

I do feel for the parents, I really do. But I feel much more for the child who was robbed of their life for their parents' forgetful negligence. I am not willing to let them off the hook. Say they were put in prison: we shall see how badly they want to die, we shall see where their priorities are. How many of these woman would want to spend time speaking on the dangers of car safety, and how many of them would be spending their time with appeals, expensive lawyers, trying to get themselves out of prison so that they can eat, play, live: things their baby will NEVER GET TO DO AGAIN. I don't know, because these women keep getting off, keep walking. They are not held accountable. There is, unfotunately, no legal way to gage how awful they feel. If there were we would all get to take a guilt test to see how much we are suffering over our crime. There is no such test, so we must rely on the law.

Let these women serve their time, instead of just feeling sorry for them. What they did (not just moms but dads as well) is a horrible horrible thing. An accident? Maybe. But only an accident a dumbass, idiotic, negligent parent would make. Just my opinion, lol, which I seem to be alone in currently. Oh well.

Psyber Chica said...

MinuteMuggle,

How do you respond to Momkat? Do you feel parents should go to jail for other accidents like the examples that Momkat gave? Why or why not?

When it can be proved that the parent did not intentionally leave their child, then they should not have to go to prison.

You said "we need justice for the child and all of the other people he/she was taken away from. Justice for the grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, teachers, and most of all justice for the child"

I'm sure all of these relatives would not find justice in their loved one going to prison for an accidental death. Why should the siblings and other relatives suffer another tragic loss?

mom said...

Minute Muggle.

I do see your point and I still love ya, but this time we do just disagree on a certain aspect of this. No biggie. Some of these issues are very confusing to me and not always so black and white. I try to place myself in the situation and imagine it from every possible angle. And I can see this one narrow type of scenario where I feel nothing but compassion for the parents.

I think the only thing that MIGHT hold me back from just killing myself if I did a thing like this to my own child and had to live with the knowledge of how my preciuous child had died a gruesomely painful death because of me, accident or not, would be my responsibility to care for my other living children, and my fear that God would never forgive me for intentionally taking my own life. Other than those, I'd be sooooo outta here.

But, while I gave my court ordered talks to other new parents, I would still be trying every avenue of appeal through the legal system for release...not for myself, but because my other kids would still deserve to be raised by the person who loves them more than anybody else possibly could. And I would continue the talks for the rest of my life, if I was able, court mandate or not. (Heck, I'd do it now if I could gather up a reasonable audience.)If I had no ther kids, I would beg for the death penalty.

ro said...

If your child is a priority, you don't forget the child in the car and remember to pick up a box of donuts.

The laws are in effect to protect all children. So why do you all come down so hard on daycares who forget children in their vans? (Who live!) You scream bloody murder.

A child is a child. It's rights are not terminated because you are the parent and you have the right to let it fry in the backseat.

mom said...

Ro,
I don't think you're getting my point (which I admit could easily be hard given that I have any sympathy at all for anybody who does this.)
Mostly I think people should be prosecuted...but then, mostly the type of parents we hear about doing this are the same people who generally treat their children shoddily in the first place, and this is one more instance of neglect in those young lives, only with much worse consequences. Obviously if the mom is in a bar in the afternoon and her kids are outside in the car (a case from, I believe, last summer) then she's a neglectful mother. Another case from last year a mom went into a house to sleep with her boyfriend and left kids in the car. Neglectful slug. So, so, so many of these cases are oviously neglectful people who never treated their child right to begin with, and probably left their kids in the car regularly, only they got unlucky once. Those are criminals. But once in a while, can't you see, for example, how an otherwise, good, caring, well intentioned dad agrees to do mom a favor and drop baby at daycare and forgets because it's not part of his routine? If I went to Target one afternoon and forgot I had a baby in the car, that's really bad and negligent because I'm a primary caregiver used to having a baby along with me. I should be expected 100% to remember that the baby is in my care at all times. No excuses. An at home mom who does this...no excuse. She should spend enough time involved with a small child in her constant care that if he were missing for any length of time, you have to assume she was being negligent. Day care vans? NO way is that excusable! Those people KNOW they have kids in the car. It's their specific job to transport kids if they're driving that van. If they forget, even for a moment, that kids are back there, that's negligence to the highest degree. If they unload 16 kids from the van at the park and they started with 17, that's gross negligence. They HAVE to know what children are in their care and be accountable for them every single minute of the day. Those cases make me scared about daycare, because I then wonder how they watched however many kids at the park all afternoon and never even noticed that little Johnny wasn't there. For all they knew, he could have been off being raped in the bathroom, or halfway to New Jersey with a kidnapper. Disgusting. You're right in that I have no pity for the perpetrators in those cases.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Clo said...

A new young mother, over worked, stressed, in a rush and tired, could easily forget a baby in the car. Especially a quiet, sleeping baby, when she isn't yet in the habit of having him.

I've never forgotten a charge or my nephews, but lets not judge this young woman for something that was a mistake. She will suffer every day the rest of her life, and that is punishment enough. She did not do it on purpose, so you can't imagine how she feels. It is actually suggested that for the first year of a childs life, parents take steps to remembering them in the car. (Put your purse and wallet next to the car seat, put a LARGE stuffed animal in the passengers seat whenever the infant in there.) because, new parents just are not used to it. This poor woman not only has to have the death of the child she loved on her shoulders, but now the judgment of hundreds of thousands of people who think they are better.

Clo said...

Oh Anonymous, grow up. Burn in hell? For their opinions? Sure, I disagree with them, but everyone is entitled to their own thoughts.


And ro, about the daycare thing, the daycare van drivers are driving the van for one reason. To get the kids. They are not out of habit, they are not used to the other parent doing it, they are in a van that is designated to bring children to daycare. How on earth could they forget the child?

Only Dad Here said...

Sounds like sleep deprevation to me. I shudder to think how many of us are close to making terrible mistakes because we're all wandering around like zombies, juggling crazy work schedules and child care. I'm also suprised the babysitter didn't put out a call when the mom didn't show up.
Minute Muggle - IMHO jail dosen't always equal justice. You say Uncles, Aunts etc need justice but I know that if (Lord forbid) this happened to my boy, putting my wife in jail would only increase the family's pain tenfold.

MinuteMuggle said...

I still stand by my opinion. I doubt I will burn in hell for it.

And Chica, I already did respond to Momcat: I said that I didn't feel those other examples were anything close to leaving your child strapped into a car to fry to death. These deaths happened as a result of direct negligence, not from some person hitting your child with a car or a toy that your other child left out for a child to put in their mouth. You cannot protect children every second of the day, that's for sure. But a defenseless baby relies on YOU to take them out of a vehicle. If you can't do that simple thing then you should not be a parent.

Sleep deprevation? Please. Young mom? Please. Anybody who would forget their child in the backseat of a car is negligent and deserves to go to jail. And as I mentioned before, if the aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters want their own brand of justice, let them spend their money on high-priced lawyers and try to get these negligent mothers appeals and get them out of jail. But to me, in these cases, jail does equal justice. When will it end? We have hear so many of these stories recently. It has become par for the course. So many excuses.

There is no excuse. I would never forget my child strapped into the backseat of a car. NEVER. This would simply NEVER happen to me. Not unless it were over my dead body.

Dad: I have done childcare and I ALWAYS called if the child did not show. However, it has become very common in these cases to put the blame on the childcare provider. The childcare provider is not the one responsible for this child. To me, there just is no excuse for this behavior. I don't care how tired you are. If you are that sleep deprived, you should not be driving your child anywhere. Parents everywhere are sleep deprived and somehow THEY manage to remember their poor baby strapped into the back of their car.

People have learned NOTHING from these innocent children dying. NOTHING. All we do is make excuses for them.

oh well said...

MinuteMuggle, your posts are usually more tolerant. Is there a hidden reason why you feel so strongly about this? You make a blatant call for justice. I'll take forgiveness over justice for myself if you don't mind.
We all make mistakes with our children and if most of them do not end up tragically, this is not because we are amazing parents, but because of luck, or Providence, or whatever you want to call it.
I like the suggestions about the diaper bag. Also it should be mandatory policy for the daycare provider to call the parent if the child is expected but fails to show up. They should not mind their own business. Finally, one could imagine electronic sensors that would partially roll down the windows if the car gets too hot, or start an alarm if a kid is blocked inside? All these might sound like unnecessary gimmicks, but not more unnecessary than 90% of the stuff already for sale in baby stores anyway.

Momkat said...

MinuteMuggle
This is why we have 12 person juries. So, different opinions are brought to the table...and all of the circumstances of a particular situation are taken into consideration. As of right now, an arrest is only made in the case of clear negligence--for example, a mom who goes into a store and shops while leaving a child in the car. Whether or not anything happens to the child; an arrest would be made. But as of right now, in cases of pure "accidental death"--like the case of a parent who inadvertantly meant to drop a child at daycare and left him/her in the car is considered an accident and punishable by law. I don't think punishment would prevent any of these deaths--these deaths are purely accidental. BUT...as I suggested earlier, campaigns to get the word out of how these deaths can be avoided, and possibly mandatory calls to parents when expected children don't arrive at daycare when they're expected--could prevent these tragic deaths of happening as frequently as they do.

Momkat said...

Oh well...

Too funny! We both posted virtually the same thing at the same time =)

mom said...

Oh well,

We went round this subject on here a while back and there are actually such items available on the market. But they're obviously not well advertised.

I think the answer now is national education on this subject, and awareness of simple strategies/devices to make these deaths all but impossible to have happen accidentally. And I would love to see a law that makes use of some safety device to prevent this mandatory before the kids even leave the hospital...just like for car seats.

Then if somebody willfully disregards the law, there will be no question about whether it was or was not negligent or intentional. If you intentionally disregard the law, you are then making a choice to endanger your baby, and you are responsible for the outcome. NO question.

Momkat said...

Oh well...

One more thing. We do have the technology to create sensors like you mentioned. For example an alarm that would sound if a baby wasn't taken out of the carseat when the ignition was turned off. BUT...what prevents those devices from going to market is the fact that manufacturers are deathly afraid of lawsuits should one of those alarms malfunction. There wasn an in-depth article written about this a while back in The Washington Post.

Momkat said...

Okay ladies, should we start a viral email campaign getting the word out about our diaper bag in the front seat idea...and any other suggestions we have. If someone wants to write it; I'd be happy to send it out to my entire email list.

MinuteMuggle said...

Oh well:

I have no tolerance for this behavior. I don't know how else to say it. I do not think I am an amazing parent and I am not saying I don't make mistakes. Of course I do, more than my fair share. But I WOULD NEVER LEAVE MY CHILD STRAPPED INTO THE BACK OF A CAR.

Momcat: Yes, I am aware of the purpose of a jury. Thank you for the refresher. And if I were on the jury I would of course take each case seperately and I would have to follow the law. If the prosecuting attorney could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the parent willfully and intentionally killed their child, I of course could not deliver a verdict of guilty on man/1 or 2. Child neglect is another story. I would hope that the attorneys would do their job and prove that this was a case of severe child neglect and that the parent were charged with child neglect.

I really don't mean to sound intolerant. I can't help the way I feel. I know no normal person that this would happen to. I am so tired and sick and heartbroken over hearing stories like this again and again and again and people defending their actions: sleep deprived, young mom, etc. etc. etc. What are we coming to, how STUPID are we when we need a "child alarm" to remind us that our BABY is in our car with us? It just seems ridiculous to me. And you can bet your ass their would be lawsuits against the companies who make them, if one of those alarms were to malfunction: why? Because these parents do not want to take accountability for ANY of their actions. Grief or no grief, they want to, and think they should, get off scott free for being the cause of the death of their child. And they do. They do! How is that justice?

And mom, I too have read many cases of this, but there has been an outcropping of cases like these and the parents are educated, generally responsible parents. Remember the college professor last year? I believe her story and a link to her 911 call was posted on this website. She said in a very calm voice, "I think my baby is dead. I think I left her in the car."

mom said...

OK Momcat. How about this:

Title: Serious Threat of Death for Children in Carseats!!!

Parents,

Each summer we hear of children who die in hot cars. In virtually every case, the person responsible for the child's death claims to have "forgotten" that the child is in the backseat. DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOUR CHILD. It is so easily preventable if we would each only employ some simple memory jogging procedures each time we strap our children into the car.

Don't simply say, "This couldn't happen to me." We all get tired, stressed, rattled, in a hurry, or just plain "foggy" at times. We're human. PLEASE TAKE THOSE EXTRA SECONDS TO MAKE SURE IT CAN'T HAPPEN.

Try one of these:

1) Put your purse, phone, briefcase (whatever you will personally need whenever you exit your vehicle)inside of, or underneath the diaper bag...preferably in the backseat next to the child. You will then not be able to exit the vehicle without reminder of the child.

2) Firmly attach a long piece of chain, string, etc., from your key ring to the child's car seat each time the child is placed in the seat. You will then not be able to remove your keys from the vehicle without reminder of your infant.

(Momcat, Add other good solutions here. I am personally not fond of the teddy in the front seat idea because it could also become commonplace and not so much of a reminder later on if thge parents get lazy and just leave the bear there most of the time. I like the ones that require the parent to have to turn back and see into the back seat. But add whatever ones you all like.)

Portlander said...

But, MinuteMuggle, this isn't "behavior." This was a really tragic accident.

Can't Remember My Moniker said...

Minute Muggle. You once called me a good Mom on another post and generally I think I am. I deeply love my kids and try my best to take care of them (one of them is autistic and I was asking for any suggestions on potty training a child with sensory processing issues on that post). But, I've made some mistakes as I've raised my kids, luckily none that resulted in death. I have enormous sympathy for the Mom in the last post because one of the stupidest Mommy moments I've ever had was doing the exact same thing. My husband and I were running erands in separate cars, he had taken the baby and I had my oldest. I ran into him in one of the shopping center parking lots as he was pushing a cart one handed while carrying our baby who had fallen asleep. I said, I am heading home now, put him in my car and I'll take him back with me. So, he strapped him in while I strapped my oldest in. I start driving and was talking to my 4 year old and all of a sudden she popped out--Mommy you forgot to go the drugstore for xx's card and wrapping paper--she was going to a birthday party later and I was out. I called my husband and asked if he was heading in that direction, but he was already far in the opposite direction. I said to my daughter, OK, we'll go to the drugstore ourselves and we went back to chatting. When I got there, I parked, slid open her side of the minivan from the button on the dashboard and she unbuckled herself and got out and was standing next to the door when I walked around the car. I pressed the automatic door closer on my key as I took her hand and walked away and never looked in the backseat of the car. I had totally forgotten the baby was sleeping in the car seat on the side with the sun shade (you only see the shade when you look at that window from the outside). We were in the store for a good 20 minutes. It was only when we got back and my daughter got in and said "Mommy you forgot--'my baby's name'" that I realized what I did. Good thing it was cool weather, 20 minutes would have been enough to kill a child in hot weather, but talk about the biggest regret and stupidest thing I've ever done. I literally have nightmares about it and play it over and over again in my head how I could have killed my son. So, no it's not just neglectful parents on drugs or parents who don't care about their kids--I live for my kids--who do incredibly stupid forgetful things sometimes. I do like the alarm idea. I think that could prevent some of this. Part of the reason it was easy for me not to notice what I was doing is because everything in cars nowadays is so automated and I didn't have to go near the open door to close it. Perhaps enable the same bing bing bing the car key chain gives when you hit lock when one of the doors didn't close all the way if there is weight on one of the seats. The technology exists--seats can disable the airbag if there is weight in a certain range on the seat, so why not use the same thing to enable an idiot alarm for distracted parents?

i sympathize, but said...

mom-
I don't think the example with your husband is quite the same thing as this situation. To me there is a big difference between forgetting to pick up the child (when that is not your typical responsibility) and forgetting about the child WHILE HE IS WITH YOU. Obviously this mom is used to taking the child to daycare, since she drove right there after work. I can't say for certain, of course, but I wouldn't be surprised if she was on the phone while she was leaving the car, and so she was too distracted to think of her baby. That's the only way I could think a mother could be so wrapped up that she forgets about her baby in the car.
I don't agree that prosecution is going to change anything, but I think she should be assigned to mandatory parenting classes.

Momkat said...

Excellent start! I finished it. Please see below. Now, ladies and gentlemen--could you please forward this out to your email list and encourage others to do the same. THANKS!!!!

Title: Serious Threat of Death for Children in Carseats!!!

Parents,

Each summer we hear of children who die in hot cars. In virtually every case, the person responsible for the child's death claims to have "forgotten" that the child is in the backseat. DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOUR CHILD. It is so easily preventable if we would each only employ some simple memory jogging procedures each time we strap our children into the car.

Don't simply say, "This couldn't happen to me." We all get tired, stressed, rattled, in a hurry, or just plain "foggy" at times. We're human. PLEASE TAKE THOSE EXTRA SECONDS TO MAKE SURE IT CAN'T HAPPEN.

Try one of these:

1) Put your purse, phone, briefcase (whatever you will personally need whenever you exit your vehicle)inside of, or underneath the diaper bag...preferably in the backseat next to the child. You will then not be able to exit the vehicle without reminder of the child.

2) Firmly attach a long piece of chain, string, etc., from your key ring to the child's car seat each time the child is placed in the seat. You will then not be able to remove your keys from the vehicle without reminder of your infant.

3) Place the shoe you're not driving with in the back seat next to the carseat. You wouldn't absent-mindedly leave the car without a shoe. On a cold winter day, you could do the same thing with your winter coat.

4) Instruct your childcare provider to please call you on your cell phone if your child doesn't arrive when he/she is expected.

Please forward this email to everyone you know. By getting the word out, we can help save a life!

mom said...

Momcat,
I think the shoe is probably the BEST one! Nobody is going to go out barefoot, and its really quick and easy to do.

sympathise,
No, it's not the same, thank God! It's just the closest I could personally relate.

None of my posts are directly aimed at the mother in today's post. I neither judge nor excuse her. I don't know the facts and all I read is the blurb available without clicking the link. Rather, my comments pertain to the subject in general.

oh well said...

Wow, Momkat, I hadn't thought about the liability issues....Mom, couldn't the long string in your second suggestion be a hazard while driving the vehicle? I am wondering if it would help to make all drivers use a checklist in all circumstances before leaving their car, like they have on planes and in some hospitals...There is probably no foolproof solution, but it certainly sounds worth trying to find one.

oh well said...

I really like the shoe too!

Momkat said...

"Could your shoe save your child's life?" Details at 11.

=)

jojo bear said...

Hello?
What in the hell? I usually agree with Mom, but? If we cannot expect parents to remember their children in their vehicle, what is next? Attach long piece of string to can of formula to remember to feed child? Or how about you attach a piece of string to your child so you don't accidentally leave the house without the child? Is this what it is coming to? Let's work on curing cancer, spending time on this like it's an epidemic that could affect anyone? No way.

Nevada Nanny said...

This makes me think of the exact opposite of myself.

I couldn't tell you how many times I've gone to get my charge from his carseat, forgetting that it was my day off and I didn't have him.

Or how many times I have PANICKED on the drive home at midnight or so, when I realized I didn't have my charge in the carseat, and I have to remember that his mom has him now.(and since that is no comfort, I also remind myself that her roommates are also there for him.)

I can see though how it is reversible. I have babies in my car so often, I forget when I don't. I can imagine if you don't often have babies there, you could forget you do. (And also, just because mom picked her son up from daycare, doesn't mean she always is the one to drop him off.)

Nevada Nanny said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nevada Nanny said...

sorry for the double post.

stayinganonymousonthisone said...

Confession: I left my toddler in the car once. He was 3 and fast asleep. Never say never. There are times when your mind is distracted and things are happening that are outside your norm or schedule. In our case, it was a birthday party at the waterpark where we were supervising a total of ten children and had taken two vehicles. We'd ended up parked at different ends of the parking lot and were herding all the kids to a central location. We got there are looked at each other and said, "Where's the baby?" He was alone in the hot car. We're good parents. Excellent some might even say.

ro said...

In a circle of crackheads, ya maybe someone might call you an excellent parent. But not me.

world's best nanny said...

I left my 3 year old charge in the car at the mall twice! I knew she was there though! Both cool and rainy days, I had to wait for the police and fire department to show up.

How about a sticker that you can mount to your dash that says "Don't forget me!" Or one that is written backward that you can put on your rear window so you see it in your rear view mirror.

ro said...

And what a great way for all these moms who like to drown and drug their children. Simply strap child in a carseat and drive somewhere, preferably in the Death Valley area and look busy. Maybe bring some clothing to the poor or soup to the hungry.

I mean why didn't Casey Anthony think of this?

Nanny Taxi said...

I think the horror that woman has to go through, killing her own baby, is enough.

MinuteMuggle said...

Portlander: It is neglectful behavior which led to the accident. Just my opinion.

Cant remember my moniker: I'm glad your child is ok.

Jojo: I find it scary that I agree with you.

Portlander said...

MinuteMuggle, do you know more details about this case? I just think behavior is the wrong word for this situation. The article didn't say that she had done this before, or that this was part of a pattern. Several people have stepped forward to say that they've made similar mistakes, which were out of character for them. Terrible things happen to fantastic parents. I'm sure this woman assumed, like you, that she would never leave her child in the car. We just don't know all the details.

MinuteMuggle said...

Portlander,
No I do not know any further details of this case.

And I can't say it any other way: I WOULD NEVER LEAVE MY CHILD STRAPPED INTO HER CARSEAT. It just. wouldn't. happen.

I don't think I am mother of the year by any means. Far from it. But I know that this is one "accident" that will never happen to me.

Psyber Chica said...

I am sending the e-mail with suggestions to everyone on my contact list.

I think the shoe idea is great.

Kim said...

There have been many stories where leaving a child happens and it happens to good parents. Haven't you ever gone on autopilot? Go on autopilot on a day when you aren't supposed to have your sleeping baby but do, and you could forget they're in the car. Listening to the stories of some of the women who have done this is heartbreaking (they've been on various talk shows to raise awareness.)

There is a car seat alarm. It has a device that attaches to your keys and a sensor under the car seat. If the keys travel a certain distance from the car seat while there is weight it in, the alarm goes off. I think it's called Child minder or something similar.

Portlander said...

Minute Muggle, of course I hope you're right. But I'm sure this woman thought the same thing about herself, and I'm sure everyone here who has shared their stories are the same. No one thinks they would accidentally leave their child in the car.

MinuteMuggle said...

I would bet my child's life on it, Portlander. It would never happen to me.

Maybe this mere discussion in ISYN will prevent it from happening to any of the readers here.

I think we are all united in one thing: that none of us want to see this happen again.

Peace.

mom said...

I have learned that there are a few things I can count on for sure as a parent:

1) Despite my beliefs to the contrary, and despite my best efforts, I WILL make mistakes.

2) If I harshly judge otherwise good and caring parents for their occasional mistakes, I can count on them to be unforgiving with me when I am in their shoes tomorrow....and further, I will deserve it.

3) Never say never when it comes to my own fallibility. I am not God, and the minute I forget to be humble He will remind me of that.


I cannot imagine ever leaving my child in my car either...but having spent as many years as a mom as I have, if I had carseat age children, they would be riding with my shoes next to their carseats starting tomorrow.

As far as the chain choking the babies...I thought of that, but then I hoped people would be smart enough to not tie the string up where the babt could get it, but to the bottom part of the seat. But that assumes everybody who uses that option will be smart enough to think ahead. Maybe we ought to omit that one entirely, girls? The shoe and the diaper bag ideas are both good enough and don't involve any risk of strangulation.

ro said...

So what if you wear stilettos to work and your child is impaled with one of your red spikes?

Is that negligence or just a casualty of convention?

cali mom said...

Skipping ahead here, but Minute Muggle, it is NOT only "moms" or "women" who forget babies in cars. Men, sometimes referred to as "dads", do it too. And I've read that when it's the mom who does it, she is more often prosecuted than when a dad does it, because people more often make the excuse for the dad that "he simply forgot because it wasn't part of his normal routine". Even when it was.

I just always wonder WHY, when I read one of these awful news stories, the babysitter or daycare did not call when the baby did not arive as expected. I'd think it would be an absolutely recommended policy for EVERY school and babysitter. Why would it NOT be a policy you'd choose to follow if you ran a daycare of any kind?

nyc mom said...

Mom,

I completely agree with your last post, especially as a mother of 3 children myself. I know it's not a sole criterion by any means, but I wonder if those responding with such harsh judgment are parents of only one young child? I just remember being much more certain of my parenting choices before I had to juggle multiple different personalities and temperaments! Of course there are certainly wiser parents of one child that I was, especially as a young mom, but I personally have learned so much humility over the years.

I read a recent article about this probably the same Washington Post article that someone else referenced.
(here's the link ,but beware it's very long http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/27/AR2009022701549_5.html?sid=ST2009030602446)

It had an excellent explanation for why people NEED to cling to the idea that this could never happen to them. Yet, most of us with a lot of parenting experience have had a situation or two that makes us say, 'There but for the grace of God go I.' I think it explains why we are unlikely to change the opinion of those on this thread and elsewhere who insist THIS COULD NEVER HAPPEN TO ME.

Here's the part that explains it:

"(This) is typical of what happens again and again, year after year in community after community, when these cases arise. A substantial proportion of the public reacts not merely with anger, but with frothing vitriol.

Ed Hickling believes he knows why. Hickling is a clinical psychologist from Albany, N.Y., who has studied the effects of fatal auto accidents on the drivers who survive them. He says these people are often judged with disproportionate harshness by the public, even when it was clearly an accident, and even when it was indisputably not their fault.

Humans, Hickling said, have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.

In hyperthermia cases, he believes, the parents are demonized for much the same reasons. 'We are vulnerable, but we don't want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we'll be okay. So, when this kind of thing happens to other people, we need to put them in a different category from us. We don't want to resemble them, and the fact that we might is too terrifying to deal with. So, they have to be monsters.'"

extremely sadden by the posts said...

I agree with minutemuggle. I just don't see how its possible to think you've dropped your child off with the babysitter or at daycare and go about your day at work. For 8 hours she didn't realize her child was in the backseat of the car??? I know she is living in hell right now but I think there should be some kind of punishment. I have never once forgotten a child in the car. How can you forget that you strapped your baby into a car seat?? Doesn't seem like she was all there. I understand mommy moments and I understand if your a new mom who is exhausted but you carried your child in your stomach for 9 months, the minute you have the child and your baby bump is gone how can you just forget that you've had it and you've got it in the car with you? I personally believe she isn't in her right mind. All the stories are extremely sad and children are the ones who pay for adults mistakes, its a very sad but extremely true fact. I love all my charges and would never cause them harm. I will never understand the sick mind it takes to harm an innocent human being.

stillanonymousonthisone said...

Before I actually did leave my child in the car, I'd have been the person posting about how I could never, ever do that and that anyone who did should be in prison.

Lola said...

I know of a woman who didn't know she was pregnant til she went to the doctor with stomach pains and was in LABOR. She wasn't on drugs either. Sooo there are women out there who are just NOT connected to their children. I wouldn't have believed it myself, but it happened.

I have shared custody with my daughter's father. On the days he has to bring her to school (twice a week) I always have it in the back of my mind--'Did he bring her to school?' But I don't want to call sounding paranoid. The school calls in the evening and have an auto-caller saying if your kid was late or absent. I wish they would call in the morning, ya know. One time I got the auto-call when she was at her Dad's and I couldn't get in touch with him and I had such a panic attack, I went to his apartment and freaked out on him, asking why he hadn't called me to let me know she was too sick to go to school.

I guess the point of my rambling is..I ALWAYS need to know where my daughter is, but...some people just don't have the connection. I feel bad for their children. On the other hand, I am not so sure, like the woman who didn't know she was pregnant, are criminals, but just idiots. I don't believe their is a law against stupidity.

MinuteMuggle said...

you're right, Cali mom: it is men too.

Extremelysaddened: thank you, I'm glad at least someone agrees with me.

nyc mom: I thought the article was psychobabble, to tell you the truth. And it definitely did not apply to me or my own feelings on this issue: for example it read...

"We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we'll be okay. So, when this kind of thing happens to other people, we need to put them in a different category from us. We don't want to resemble them, and the fact that we might is too terrifying to deal with. So, they have to be monsters.'"

I never said I think that these people are monsters. I said I think they should be punished for what they did, by the full extent of the law. Also, I am well aware that if you "follow the rules" you still sometimes have accidents that one cannot possibly prevent. But leaving your baby in a car to die, just "forgetting" about them, regardless of the reason or if you are "not used to the regular routine" blah blah freaking blah, well that is NOT the same thing: those parents were NOT following the rules at all. The rule is you don't forget your freaking baby. That's a rule, I believe. And it is foolproof too: sure, other things (god forbid) may happen to our children, but one thing should be certain and clear to everyone: if we LEAVE OUR BABY IN THE FREAKING CAR WHILE WE GO TO WORK THEY WILL DIE, SO DON'T. Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? It sure sounds simple to me.

Lola: there is a law against stupidty if it leads to a child's death: it is called child neglect.

MinuteMuggle said...

oh, one more thing, nyc mom:

you're right: I only have one child. So do many of these men and women who have "forgotten" their babies in their cars.

I judge them harshly on this one act: it wasn't a mistake like forgetting to pack your child's sippy cup. They forgot that their children were in the car with them. I am sorry but I just cannot comprehend this.

Can't remember my Moniker said...

Just as anonymousonthisone said, I would have been echoing MinuteMuggle until I did it. Never something I could even imagine I could do. I do think there is a difference between being a parent of one and a parent of three, as I am, but you THINK you adjust--I run my mental checklist of where is child a, b, c constantly when during the week. One of the reasons I think this happened is that we have a routine that on the weekends, each child gets a day they are the "only child" with Mommy (gives them alone time and gives me a break to just have one). It was my day with my middle daughter and I didn't adjust when I altered plans to take my son from my husband.

jennamichelle said...

What an idiot. How do you completely forget about your child? Why didn't anyone passing by the car hear the baby screaming? This is completely ridiculous. She was definitely on some drugs or something. I don't have any children yet, but I have 2 puppies who I love like children (& I'd never forget them in the car, let alone a human being!), & I was a nanny, so I understand the amount of your heart you give to your children...I really can't fathom myself EVER doing this. How do you forgive yourself? If I ended my own child's life because of something so completely neglectful...because I smoked my breakfast & WHOOPS "forgot" about my kid...Shit man. Can you tell I'm angry? haha. This is my first visit to this blog...& I'll be back for more :)

mom said...

nyc mom,

Exactly. I'm going to read the whole article later, but the part you printed makes perfect sense.

I was thinking about this subject this morning...about how some are so adamant that they would never do it, and some are more like, "I cannot imagine I would ever do this...but I'm taking precautions just in case anyway....'cause...well...ya never know for sure..." I thought to myself just what you said in your post...the ones who feel it is 100% impossible that they could do this are probably those more "new to parenting"...one child, fairly young, and the parents have not yet been humbled by some unthinkable thing they never thought they would be capable of doing, but yet they did it. (That's not a dig, young mommies. I was exactly the same way at first.)

I can so clearly remember thinking that way. New mother, having read all the books, perfectly idealistic, I was poised to be the bestest, most perfect mother that there ever was...and my kid was going to be perfect too (as a result of my perfect parenting, naturally.)

OMG! What an awakening I have had over the years. My kids are not perfect. I have made mistakes...some of them not so small. Sure, I never did any of the purposeful neglectful or abusive things we hear about those "bad" parents doing...but even in putting forth my best effort at all times, I failed in areas. I made mistakes that by the grace of God my children survived. Not many...but then it only takes one. And if one of those times the worst had happened, everybody would be here insisting that I am a monstrous, horrible mother that deserves prison...when the opposite is true of me. Nobody ever loved a child more than I love mine. Nobody has tried harder as a mom. (Many the same, I have no doubt, but none more, I guarantee.)I am not a perfect mom. I am not a bad mom. I am just a mom who has done her very best at all times but is not perfect. There are better moms than me and there are worse, but I can promise you assuredly that no mother has tried any harder than I have to be a good mom to my kids. And yet my kids have not turned out perfectly. They're great kids, and I'm so proud of them...don't get me wrong...but they too are human kids. There are times I have felt like the bestest mommy ever and times I have thought I failed completely with one or another of them...and in reality, we're all no different than anybody else (within the confines of normal society, anyway.)

I'm just like probably most of you. The only difference between me and some of you is that I have had many more years of experiences to draw on...and ample time to be brought out of my idealistic bubble and cut down to the size I actually am.

nyc mom said...

MinuteMuggle,

I do not expect to change your opinion. As many of us have been saying, you *never* think these things will happen to you - until they do.

I have no doubt you will at some point have a serious "bad parenting moment." I have had two that come immediately to mind. The first was my son getting lost at a park and finding his own way home about 6 blocks along NYC streets at 4.5yo. Three years later I can't think of that without overwhelming panic at what *could* easily have gone wrong.

The second was when my daugher was two years old in her stroller on an incline. I still remember locking the stroller breaks and turning around (not even walking away, just turning) for a second to look at a store window. In a blink of an eye, she was gone, rolling very fast toward a busy intersection. I am so thankful that a stranger happened to be walking past at that exact moment (there was no one else within half a block) and grabbed her stroller just as it was about to fall off the curb into traffic. Both these events, and lots of other smaller ones, I think of as lessons and in a way am grateful I was given a chance to learn from my mistakes and avoid truly serious consequences. But either event could easily have had a horrible outcome.

I don't wish this on you by any means. In fact, I would rather you not have this experience and continue to see the world as you do, but I'm almost certain life won't be that simple. It may not be the same as leaving your child in the car, but it will be judged equally harshly by others. I hope and pray that you will be as lucky as many of us and whatever event it is will be resolved without serious consequences. It will take this event to change your view of how parents who make these mistakes should be treated.

To Mom, stillanon, and others who have shared their own moments - thanks! Nothing is more helpful than learning from others and it's personal stories that really stick with me and help me be a more careful parent.

MinuteMuggle said...

nyc mom:

why assume I have never had a "mom moment?" I have had plenty. I clearly stated that I have made more than my fair share of mistakes. I am certainly not one of those holier than though "read all the right books" first time moms who actually believes they are prepared for parenthood. Nobody is ever prepared.

But this is one mistake I will never make. And I would think that anyone, after reading all of these posts, would never make it either. Or if they already have, that they would never make it again.

To be honest, your post clearly shows that you know absolutely nothing about my world view. Additionally, I am a bit offended by it. If you think I see the world as simple, you have another thing coming. You want a personal story? Here's one for you: a woman who shall remain nameless, last year just got out of an abusive marriage, for the sake of her child, then spent the last year involved in a bitter custody battle with an angry abuser, all the time caring for her child as a single mom and then recently found out that her child was autistic. This mom is so far from perfect and does not have a "simplistic" view of life at all. On the contrary, she feels life is crazy, can be cruel, and is ready to throw you curve balls any chance it gets.

I don't know what else to say except that I think you have gotten the wrong impression of me. I will say again that I have a far from simplistic view of life. I realize you are not asking me to change my opinion. But your assumption that my lack of experience leads me to where I stand on this issue is just plain wrong.

oh well said...

MinuteMuggle, I am ready to believe you when you say that this situation will never happen to you. But I still think that it is difficult to judge someone else's situation. Maybe you have been through so much hardship that it seems pretty obvious to you where your priorities are. But not everyone is like this ( I know I have a hard time figuring out what my priorities are) , and they may not even be bad people for it. I have heard of a story where the dad forgot his child because he was worrying about a hit and run accident he had just witnessed. In any case, going through bad times does not necessarily make one the wiser, it takes a certain kind of person. So be glad that you are the way you are, but do not judge others by your standards.

nyc mom said...

MM,

I apologize if I offended you. I am re-reading my posts and do not see anywhere that I called you "simplistic" or said "your world view was simple." I believe I said at one point that "life won't be that simple," but that is quite different than calling you simplistic.

Additionally, and with all due respect, although you relate having been through a great deal of personal challenges for which you have my sincere sympathy, that really has nothing to do with the issue at hand. I *guarantee* that if we were to compare histories of personal physical, sexual, emotional abuse; poverty; and other life changing tragedies my own would far exceed that of 99% of the US population. This really isn't a context of "whose life has been harder." I actually think it's kind of misleading to try to turn the issue at hand into one related to abuse history.

just another said...

I really doubt this would ever happen to me either, because I am just that paranoid that I check my car 5 times before I get out for any thing I might be forgetting.
That having been said, I still don't exactly see how this happened to the mom in question. I mean, the examples from people on this blog (and thanks for sharing, btw), involve dads who forget to pick up a child when that's not their typical responsibility or forgetting your baby when you did not leave the house with him and somebody else put him in the car. But I don't really see how you buckle your own child into the car and then forget to take him out again. Other examples, like with the stroller rolling away- you are not forgetting about your child; you took the appropriate steps to safeguard the child (put on the brakes) but it didn't work. Yes, it could have had tragic consequences, but imo, it wasn't neglectful. And children can get lost in public places- that doesn't make you neglectful. But to completely forget about your child for the whole day? Without even a little doubt at any point about whether or not you dropped him at daycare? I just can't imagine it, whereas I can imagine making a number of other mistakes.

ericsmom said...

I agree, Cali mom. Especially, when you also hear of stories of children "forgot" on a school bus. If the teacher doesn't see the child at the expected time. The school office should just call the parents. And ask if they are staying home for the day. Because they weren't on the bus.

That is one reason why I bring my son to school in the morning. I am worried they may forget him. I let him take the van home in the afternoon. Because I am outside waiting. And if I don't see him in the time frame when he should return. I just call the company up. And its nice spending that time together in the morning

mom said...

You ladies who say this could never happen to you may be happy to know my husband agrees with you.
I asked him yesterday. He was furious at the mom whose baby just died and said there is no excuse. I asked him how he then explained forgetting to pick our son up from school that day and he said, "That's different. The child is in the car!! How do you not turn around and see your child in the backseat...the child that you put there yourself??! (He was passionate as he spoke, hence the exclamation points.)

I totally get that mindset...although I still think this is one of those situations that if I was on the jury I would want to know exactly what happened, why and how, before I could convict somebody. I think it is at least possible for this to happen perfectly accidentally...in a rare circumstance, I agree... but nevertheless, possible.

MinuteMuggle said...

nyc mom,

I think your post was extremely condescending towards me, just my opinion. I am not judging others, I am merely judging their actions and stating my opinion.

I'm sorry now that I shared a story because it seems people failed to see my point. My point was that there are things in life we have control over, and there are things in life we do not have control over.

To be honest, I'm sick and tired of this debate because the fact remains that WE ALL HAVE CONTROL OVER GETTING OUR CHILDREN IN AND OUT OF OUR OWN VEHICLES.

to Oh Well:

I am so sorry to seem judgemental, but I think any mother who leaves their child strapped into a carseat and forgets about them (with the occasional exception that Mom mentioned: there are always exceptions to the rule) is unfit and at the very least needs parenting classes because it is just about one of the most irresponsible and neglectful things anyone could do. Sorry but I call them like I see them.

Psyber Chica said...

I think the horse is dead...really dead.

cali mom said...

Sorry to beat it one more time then, but I have been torn on this issue until now, and I have to say that I cannot understand how anyone could forget that their child or baby was in the car with them anymore than I could understand someone forgetting to put clothes on before they leave their house in the morning. Yeah, say it's Saturday and you're meeting a friend for lunch, so you're "out of your usual routine" of getting to your office by 8:00 am. Would you walk out naked and never realize it until 9 hours later? Why do parents never space out on the fact that their child is not with them when they leave the house? Have we ever heard of a parent coming home frantic after 9 hours to discover they'd left their baby in the crib, alone all day? I haven't. How is it that a parent can simply FORGET *ALL ABOUT* their child, and never a single thought of that baby flickers through their mind for 9 hours? At least, not enough of a thought to remind them that they left the child behind? I just cannot understand how it's possible. I am not buying the good parent "out of the usual routine", or "thinking about work" bull. Someone who more easily remembers their briefcase than their baby is NOT a good parent.

LindaLou said...

I don't think anyone can say they would never forget with 100% certainty. I mean, that's what forgeting IS. You're supposed to remember something and you don't.

All I know is that if I ever inadvertently did something that resulted in one of my childrens' deaths, I wouldn't give a flying sh*t if they put me in jail. That would be the very least of the hell I'd have to endure. Bring it on!

mom said...

Cali,
How can people do it? Ususally it's somebody whose child is such a tiny, insignificant part of their daily lives that they are able to go all day without giving them a single thought.

You know why most of us feel we wouldn't do it? Because we see and interact with out children on such a consistent basis that there's no friggin way they could be unaccounted for for 8 or 9 hours at a stretch and have it go unnoticed. There are many, many people who, by choice alone, do not include their children in their lives as a major priority. They drop the kids off and then don't reconsider them until the end of the day. It wouldn't occur to them to call during the day to see how little Suzie is getting along. They have more important things to do. How many of you leave your kids with a babysitter for that long of a stretch and never call to chek in on them? I know I never did.

ericsmom said...

I don't see how people forget either. When my son was so tiny, even in the back seat I would try and glance over. To make sure he was okay. And I would always talk outloud to him. That way he could hear my voice.

MinuteMuggle said...

Great point, eric's mom. I talk to my child and sing with her the entire time we are in the car. I think it is fun!

mom said...

Yes ladies,
But then it has been firmly established that you both make your children a priority.

Don't tell me we all haven't encountered plenty of people who don't. Too many people think themselves far more important than their children, and think themselves too above communicating on that level. Better to ignore them and keep their minds free for loftier thoughts.

does this moniker make my butt look big said...

I am with minute Muggle on this one! I think any parent leaving a child in a car to die should be punishished by the law.

Lets face it..at one time or another we are ALL new,sleep deprived parents with lots on our plates.. but to leave a child to die and use "I forgot" as an excuse..no way in hell.

I agree accidents happen and can happen to all of us. I will tell you I do not believe I could EVER, as tired,sick and sleep deprived as I am shut my brain off in a manner that I would forget my child is in the car??And I have an illness notorious for brain fog..it still aint happening!
I feel horrible for any parent responsible for the death of their child and I agree..no one wants to keep hearing about such occurrences.
They punish people for leaving dogs to die in cars..but let forgetful parents off?? Are you kidding me?