I first heard about it from a friend who is a camera man for the local news station. He posted it on Facebook before it broke on the evening news. The comments instantly turned ugly.
If you didn't want kids then why did you have them?
What a stupid b1tch!
I hope they get sentenced, there is no such thing as an accident.
Really, one wonders what sort of parent could make such a "mistake." I used to hear about these things and think the same thing. I used to judge very harshly, but then I read this article in The Washington Post back in April. The article is about individual families that have experienced this sort of tragedy and how its not just something that happens to bad parents, young parents, poor parents, drugged parents etc. It can happen to normal, everyday good parents that experience what the story calls a "fatal distraction."
In each of the families profiled the parent who forgot the child in the car was either stressed out about something, had a change in routine, or weren't used to taking the child with them in the first place. All instances involved a sleeping baby that was simply forgotten when the parent left the vehicle. What is clear however, is that all of these children were wanted and loved, and their parents have to live with a sort of guilt that is, to me, unimaginable.
The point of the story is that it can happen to you too. So, what can be done to prevent this sort of thing? There is an article here that offers advice on how to make sure you don't forget your baby in the car. The advice runs the gamut from ridiculous gadgets you don't really need to good sound, common sense. Some things they suggest are:
- Always put something you'll need for work -- cellphone, handbag, employee badge, etc. -- on the floor of the back seat, near the child.
- Keep a large teddy bear in the child's car seat when it's not occupied. When the child is placed in the seat, put the teddy bear up front in the passenger seat. It's a visual reminder that anytime the teddy bear is in the passenger seat, the child is in the back
- Make arrangements with your child's day-care provider or babysitter that you will always call them if your child will not be there on a particular day as scheduled. Ask them to always phone you if your child does not show up when expected.
You can also go to KidsandCars.org to find more safety information about children and cars.
We need to remember its summertime and with that comes more dangers for little ones. Just the other day a little girl here in town was hit by an elderly driver. The girl will be ok but its a reminder that we all need to be vigilant about our surroundings. Keeping babies and children inside isn't the answer, but with common sense and an ounce of prevention, tragedies like what happened in Hays and what happened here don't need to be part of your local news cycle.