August 29, 2005

LVPD: How Not To Forget Your Kid's In The Car

[Las Vegas] Metro police recommend the following to help you remember that your child is in the car:

* Leave something important, like a purse if you're a woman, or a wallet if you're a man.
* Leave that item next to your child's car seat, so when you go to get that item, you will remember that your child is still inside the car.

Also, "In October the law will change in the State of Nevada. Any parent who leaves a child inside a car, whether it is intentional or not, will face at least misdemeanor charge." [italics original.]

Toddler's Father May Not Be Charged
[KLASTV 8 Eyewitness News, via Parents Behaving Badly]

12 Comments

that's good advice. I always have trouble remembering unimportant things like my child *rolls eyes*

[of course, the police can't say, "or really important things like your bong" -ed.]

Blaming the driver solves nothing for deaths caused by accidental (not intentional) child-left-in-vehicle situations. These incidents occur dozens of times in the United States each year. Fines or jail time are not a deterrent because the act isn't intentional.

The underlying issue is poor vehicle design. They thought it important enough to make the car beep when the driver's safety belt is unbuckled or the headlights are left on, but so far they don't give a care if a child is left in the car strapped into a child seat. There are many ways cars could be designed to accommodate child alerts.

Deadly silence - automobiles ignore our children

Maybe I'm a total bitch.. but if you need a BEEP BEEP BEEP to remind you that your child is in the car with you, you need some serious help.

People need to take their heads out of their you-know-whats and pay attention to what's going on around them.

It's called "out of sight, out of mind." Parents spent most of their life without a baby in the car. It's entirely predictable that a certain percentage of parents (albeit a small percentage) will have this problem. We can blame the parents and watch more kids die, or we can expect better technology from car and seat makers.

It must be nice to be so sure that you'll never make a mistake that you feel free to make a judgement about a parent who accidentally screws up. Cause, you know, a heaping helping of guilt is JUST the thing that'll keep you from ever forgetting anything important.

Personally? I blame corporate America. We're so convinced that our jobs are so all-fired important that they're the things on our minds from the moment we walk out the door. Our family ends up being a secondary concern.

This has nothing to do with poor vehicle design, but with our cultural values. And our cultural values are woefully out of whack.

[But I think the brain-numbing 'news you can use!' mentality of the local tv news deserves some credit for even coming up with asking the cops for their memory-jogging tips. -ed.]

I'd argue that it's not that we're convinced that our jobs are so important, but that we have to be consumed by those jobs to keep them and feed ourselves. With no support system for families, no humane parental leave policy, and a shitty economy, no wonder parents are stretched so tightly and are so sleep-deprived that they forget whose turn it was to drop the kid off at daycare.

None of that's going to change any time soon, so we might as well be taking the tips the police are offering. We need all the help we can get.

Do you know how easy it would be for anyone at anytime to "accidentally" leave their child in their car. Yeah, lets just give people a great way to dispose of their kids without punishment "Oh, it was an accident!" Too often they find out that alcohol, drugs, etc... are involved... and other times they end up finding out that it was, in fact very intentional.

Yes, I do believe that accidents happen, those are more from children playing around and climbing into cars and not being able to get out. But we shouldn't commend parents for being careless.

There is a law here in Kentucky called "Bryan's Law" that states that if you leave a child or elderly person unattended in a car and it leads to that person's death, you will be charged with 2nd degree manslaughter.

Personally I think every state needs a law about leaving children in the car. It shouldn't be allowed.

This all has the sensation of America gone mad again to a European like me. The police tips sounds reasonable enough - though I don't think the people most affected by this problem are going to follow them.
Stupidity should be taxable - and a hefty fine - if the child survived - should be mandatory.

We have a rearfacing mirror attached to the windshield that keeps baby in view. Plus, her babbling often helps to remind me she's there, as I drive her to daycare :)

"It must be nice to be so sure that you'll never make a mistake that you feel free to make a judgement about a parent who accidentally screws up. Cause, you know, a heaping helping of guilt is JUST the thing that'll keep you from ever forgetting anything important."

Oh, I'm sure I'll make plenty of mistakes, and I'll probably make plenty more while raising my two children. I just think forgetting I even have them with me wont' be one of them. It certainly hasn't happened yet.

I think allowing yourself to become completely consumed with your own thoughts and worries, to the point that you forget about your child is just as negligent as leaving a gun laying around the house, or falling asleep with a lit cigarette in your hand. Not only is it dangerous and stupid, it's incredibly self-centered. Having children requires you to think outside of yourself. If someone is incapable of that, they should probably not be raising children.

I don't care if it was an "accident." Someone who is too preoccupied to think about the welfare of their own child shouldn't be a parent.

I've been following these kinds of stories for over a year. In many cases, it is clear the the parent did not forget the child in the car -- they intentionally left the child in the car because it was *convenient* to do so. In many cases it was because they just needed to run in to a store or a fast food joint. In some cases it was to buy drugs.

How convenient it is that a parent who intentionally leaves their child in a car out of convenience can claim that they forgot -- that it was an accident -- and get off with a slap on the wrist.

It's sickening. To say the underlying issue is poor vehicle design is absurd. If my car doesn't beep at me to put on my seatbelt and I die because I didn't put on my seatbelt, that's poor car design? Wasn't I the one who chose not to put on the seatbelt? It's true that the beep might have helped me remember but it's still my responsibility whether it beeps or not. What has happened to personal responsibility? When did it become okay for people to not take responsibility for their own action or inaction?

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