I’ve always wanted to get some post-it type stickers printed up that say, “Hi! I could have kidnapped your child!” to leave on the windshields of those cars.
Amanita, that’s friggin brilliant. Can I steal it?
And jujuju I think after a child understands not to talk to strangers, and after you can trust them not to unlock and leave the car, is when they can stay alone. That’s a pretty variable age, though.
No phonecall from the police as to any follow up so I don’t know what happened. I just don’t understand how people can have kids and then not take every, or even just sensible, precautions to keep them safe.
Well, kidnapping is the major worry for a lot of parents. But even simple car thieves don’t always notice the kid in the backseat until it’s too late. We had a case here last year where some idiot left her car running right in front of the Food4Less while she ran into the entrance to buy a soda from the vending machine. A guy hopped into the car and took off, failing to notice the baby. Luckily, he was human enough to drop off the infant at a day-care center, where someone quickly noticed the random baby in a corner.
Man, great idea. I can start a service where people rent out their brats as vehicle anti-theft devices. Going to a movie? Rent a brat and leave them in the car to make sure it isn’t stolen. The club is so passe’. Why have those snot-nosed little bastards just draining away your money when they can be put to a good and profitable use?
This could help finance my “Adopt an 18 year old French Girl” project which I’ve been trying to convince my wife that we need to do.
There is more to worry about with leaving small children in the car than the car being stolen. The kids could be kidnapped or injured, the kids could get out and get injured, the car could overheat in the summer or freeze in the winter (it is still winter here - the temp. gets below -30°C here sometimes), and having a heater running in a parked car is dangerous due to the possibility of carbon monoxide gases building up. In general, people who don’t want their kids (or pets) to die don’t leave them unattended in cars.
Apparently it is hard. I saw a local news story a while back in which the police department held a seminar where people could come in to have their car seats checked to see if they complied to current safety standards or were on a recall list for a defect. IIRC, over sixty percent of them were secured incorrectly.
Was there any connection between these two incidents, do you know? Was the woman at fault? Just wondering…
Well, I have to bring this thread back to announce that the woman I told about above, who got in two car accidents within 5 weeks with small children who were unrestrained, is not going to be charged with child endangerment.
So. Apparently car accidents are so completely unforeseeable that carseats are not in fact necessary, since who would expect to get in a car crash? Hello, Mr. DA, I thought that was why carseats are important–because parents are supposed to be able to think far enough ahead to anticipate and prepare for accidents, and make sure that their children will be safe in case something bad happens. This would also perhaps be why we put poisons out of reach and gates on the stairs–just in case?
Gaaaaaaah! I cannot believe the stupidity here. Mr. DAman is going to be hearing from me, I think.
a35362, she fell asleep at the wheel the first time, and swerved into the oncoming lane the second time. Sorry, I never saw your post.
I just had a horribly cynical thought:
If these parents are so stupid that they can’t take the time to install car seats or look out for their kids’ welfare, maybe it’s just as well if their offspring die off so they don’t grow up, spawn, and pass their stupidity to yet another generation.
Since we don’t have wolves and bears in the wild to thin out the herd, maybe the automobile has become Darwin’s handmaiden to weed out the slow and the dim.
“Sorry you left your kid to die in the heat in a closed car, Mrs. Smith, but since he carried your genes, he probably would have grown up to be a mouthbreather like yourself. You did the species a favor by eliminating your own progeny from the gene pool.”
Horribly cynical, but understandable. Ah well, such is life I guess.
That’s a good question, and I don’t think there’s a hard-and-fast answer; it depends on the maturity level of the child, how safe an area you live in, and how long you’re going to be gone. Depending on circumstances, comments similar to SanguineSpider’s above could be perfectly reasonable or they could be the ravings of a neurotic, overprotective parent who doesn’t dare let her kids out of her sight until they’re 21. (Note: I am not questioning the judgment of SanguineSpider in particular regarding her own kid, just using her comments as an example of what might, in other circumstances, be an example of “going overboard.”) CheekyMonkey613’s example of not wanting to leave a cat in the car while paying for gas strikes me as way overprotective (even on the off chance that there were someone nearby who’d want to steal your cat, your kid, or your car, what are the chances of them successfully doing so in just a couple of minutes if the doors are locked and the keys are not in the ignition?), but without knowing more about the circumstances, I’m not qualified to judge whether it is or not, and even if this is an example of being overprotective, so what?
When I was a kid, I remember waiting in the car while my mom ran into a store for a few minutes, though I don’t remember how young I was at the time. I also played outside unsupervised and walked about a mile home from school alone by the age of 6. I didn’t think then, and still don’t, that there was anything wrong or particularly unsafe about any of this; and I never came to any harm. Yeah, the world’s not as safe today as it was 25 or 30 years ago, but it’s not as dangerous as some people believe it is—or is it?
Bottom line: some things are judgment calls, and the line isn’t always clear, so I wouldn’t go pitting people for making their judgment calls differently than I would unless they’re way over the line.
If you see something like this in future, and have a cell phone, make a quick call to the police with a description of the car (even better, license plate) and where they’re headed. The cops, presuming they’re not tied up with major issues, will usually be more than happy to pull said individual over and give them a lecture and a ticket.
A woman of my acquaintance left her children in the car while she went to the grocery. The kids managed to put the car in gear, it rolled across the parking lot, off an embankment, and into a stream.
They were fine, but it’s a really good illustration for why parking brakes should always been engaged, and kids shouldn’t be left alone in a car.
I’m not sure it’s the same, but when I was very young I liked to sit in the car in the driveway and pretend to drive the car. One time my father drove home an unfamiliar car(he is a car dealer), and while I was playing in the car I knocked it out of gear and it went across the street and hit the neighbors car.
Is that really true though? Crime rates dropped quite a few times in the 90s, and 25-30 years ago was the 1970s which were a time of a rather significant crime boom. I’ve poked around on the DoJ website but can’t find anything that would say for sure.
For the record, I’m also a survivor of many cumulative hours spent sitting in cars with my sister waiting for my mother to do this or that. Honestly, you’d think baby-snatchers were lurking behind every tree the way some of you are talking. I agree that there’s no excuse for leaving a child in a car for long, but I think it’s a ridiculous overreaction to say you can NEVER leave a kid of ANY age in a car for even 30 seconds because they might DIE. Fear-monger much?
We have a serious epidemic of stupidity in our world. As a fireman in Dallas we often have individuals come to the fire station and ask us to install their car seats. I cannot understand how someone that can learn to operate an automobile on our streets cannot figure out the instructions for a car seat.
Unfortunately, in large cities, too many traffic violations are never addressed. In Dallas, for instance, the police are so busy they usually overlook most traffic violations altogether. The only time a car seat inadequacy might come up is in a fatal crash where some child gets killed.
I saw a case on CourtTV of a woman going into a donut shop for snacks, leaving her son in the car. Doors unlocked, car running. Someone who had seen her pull up alerted her to the fact that a man was about to take off with her car. She ran out of the shop, yanked the back door open and, frantically screaming to the man that her son was in the back, tried getting the little boy out of his toddler seat. His foot got caught on the seatbelt and the man sped off, dragging that poor little boy to his death. He claimed he thought she’d taken the child out of the car.
If you’re dumb enough to leave your kid in the car, the very least you could do is lock the damn doors!
As a parent, I don’t like this any more than you guys do.
But some of you need to get a grip.
“How can you have kids and then not care about them?”
First of all, you cannot equate NOT using carseats with “not caring about” your kids. That’s a ridiculous exaggeration. A parent who doesn’t use a carseat is ignorant and neglectful, but it’s a stretch to say they don’t care about their children.
“I pit everyone of these fuck-ups (caught such as this or not) into the deepest and hottest pits of Hell (and worse) for not doing their duty towards their children. There’s no love as shown by these examples and it makes me sick to think of people doing these things when they should know better. I truly pray for these kids. I am fuckin’ sick to my stomach.”
Golly. Burn in hell forever for “not doing their duty?” You think you have to pray for these kids? You get physically ill? The reality is, the majority of these kids are going to be just fine. Even if it’s a chance you or I would never believe of taking, even though we applaud their being ticketed and fined, your sense of the harm being done these children seems bizarrely overwrought. They are being placed at risk, troubling risk. That’s different than them being beaten, set on fire, fileted, thrown off a bridge… People are fined for not having kids in carseats. They might be rightfully criminally charged if the child is injured in an accident. But we don’t IMPRISON parents for not using a carseat under normal circumstances, and I certainly hope God wouldn’t condemn them to eternal HELL for it.
"“I forgot he was in there … I must have forgotten to take him to the daycare … I took the groceries and got distracted and forgot " blah blah blah. Ok I can see forgetting your briefcase/lunch/smokes/that unopened can of soda in the car BUT YOUR BABY or toddler!!! give me a fucking break. Those people need to be beaten with a stick and yet they are sent to parenting classes (if the kid lives) or some other lame BS slap on the hand.”
I’ve missed the turn to daycare and proceeded to work because I was distracted and because I didn’t take my son every day. I noticed because my son made a noise. I would have seen him anyway when I got to work (I mean, even if he’d fallen asleep and was quiet, there is no way I’d have missed him), but unfortunately it’s all too plausible to me that a child could be forgotten, which is why such stories give me chills.
Two of you have said stuff like this:
“I cannot understand how someone that can learn to operate an automobile on our streets cannot figure out the instructions for a car seat.”
80% of car seats are not installed correctly. Which is why police and fire stations WELCOME the chance to install them FOR parents. At some point, maybe you need to accept that fact that they are DIFFICULT to install correctly and that they are not designed in a very user-friendly way. Sure, buckling them in is easy. But lining them up right, kneeing them hard enough, judging whether or not there is too much play–that’s not clear in the instructions. They can SEEM to be installed right but still not be 100% safe because they’re not tight enough. Furthermore, no carseats fit all cars equally well. Unfortunately, no carseat manufacturer has elected to provide parents with this information (“this seat fits well in an Impreza but not in an Escort, etc etc”).
I am a concerned parent who is religious about the use of the carseat. But I don’t get the degree of self-righteous fury in this thread.
Remarkably sad that this happened twice. There was a case just like this in 1999 or 2000 in Missouri, but with an older child, at a gas station. There was significant evidence the carjacker KNEW the child was being dragged. Cars honked and followed and several even risked serious injury to cut the driver off. The story made one hell of an impression on me.
I hate to crash this little hate fest you’ve got going here, but it sure seems to me that some of these examples of personal irresponsibility or neglect are quite reasonable behavior.
Every day of our lives we make decisions in which we balance risks against dozens of other variables like, convenience, life experience, excitement, etc. With every breath we take we are balancing the risk of breathing in a fatal pathogen against the risk of suffocating.
Last week I took my family on a skiing vacation. Was I an irresponsible moron to do this? After all, I’m sure that more children are killed, paralyzed or seriously injured in skiing accidents than are kidnapped from parking lots. Am I a bad parent for putting my kids at risk just for a few hours of excitement?
My oldest son is 12. When he happens to be with me when I’m running errands, he will often prefer to be left in the car to listen to the radio, read or play some electronic game. Depending on how long I expect to be gone and other factors, I’ll be OK with it. Am I a bad parent for doing that? What if he was 13? Fifteen? Eighteen? Seven?
My youngest son is eight. Sometimes when driving him home from school he will ask if he can do “tricks”. Tricks means hanging his head and upper body out the window dog-like while I slowly drive the final block. While there is some risk to this, I let him do it for no other reason than he finds it wonderfully fun. I can certainly understand that some parents would weight he risks and decide that it wasn’t worth it, and I have no problem with that. I would have a problem with some busybody calling the police and reporting an incident of child endangerment.