It's spring, not too hot yet. And the Gene Weingarten's March 2009 story for the Washington Post just won the Pulitzer Prize. Which makes it an excellent time for every parent to get in the habit of checking, every single time they get out of the car, to see if your kid is in the back seat:
So, if it's not manslaughter, what is it? An accident?Also:
"No, that's an imperfect word."
This is Mark Warschauer, an internationally acclaimed expert in language learning and technology, professor of education at the University of California at Irvine.
"The word 'accident' makes it sound like it can't be prevented," Warschauer says, "but 'incident' makes it sound trivial. And it is not trivial."
Warschauer is a Fulbright scholar, specializing in the use of laptops to spread literacy to children. In the summer of 2003, he returned to his office from lunch to find a crowd surrounding a car in the parking lot. Police had smashed the window open with a crowbar. Only as he got closer did Warschauer realize it was his car. That was his first clue that he'd forgotten to drop his 10-month-old son, Mikey, at day care that morning. Mikey was dead.
The 2008 Cameron Gulbransen Kids' Transportation Safety Act -- which requires safety improvements in power windows and in rear visibility, and protections against a child accidentally setting a car in motion -- originally had a rear seat-sensor requirement, too. It never made the final bill; sponsors withdrew it, fearing they couldn't get it past a powerful auto manufacturers' lobby.As far as I can tell, there is no current legislative effort to require rear seat sensors or alarms that could prevent this type of infant death.