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Author Topic: Summer Brings Tragedy for Children in Cars
snopes
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It's a scenario that's tragically repeated dozens of times a year: A parent places a toddler in the back seat of a vehicle on a hot day and later becomes distracted, leaving the child inside to swelter and die.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/H/HOT_CAR_DEATHS?SITE=FLTAM

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diehard
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Truthfully, how could you ever forget that your child is in a vehicle with you? They are a part of your everyday life, you just took them someplace to do something with them they should never be left alone even if you go into a store for a minute I never could understand this occurance. [Confused]

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Jonny T
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I keep misreading the title of this as "summer brings tragedy for children in cans" and being quite confused.

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emperor_genghis_khan
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here there have been two sad caes recently in one of them an assisent DA forgot his kid went to court sent the bad guys to jail and after he finished up his day found his child dead in his car. He claimed to have forgotten to drop the kid at the daycare center.

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OptimusShr
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You have no idea how often this happens up here. It's a real shame.

And it drives me crazy trying to figure out why people are so stupid.

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curlygirl
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A few years back we had a this happen a few times too. Only the parents were deliberately leaving the babies in the car. In the most infamous case the mother was playing pokies at the casino while the baby was left alone. IIRC he died after a few days on life support.

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
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quote:
Originally posted by diehard:
Truthfully, how could you ever forget that your child is in a vehicle with you? They are a part of your everyday life, you just took them someplace to do something with them they should never be left alone even if you go into a store for a minute I never could understand this occurance. [Confused]

In the case of the accidental child-forgettings, there are a couple of factors at work. One is that parents of young babies are often chronically sleep-deprived, which numerous medical studies have shown has negative effects on brain function. Another is that it is easier to forget things that are not part of one's normal routine.

So what happens in many of these instances is that a father (it's usually a father, or sometimes a grandparent, in the accidental cases)who didn't get a lot of sleep last night, is asked by his spouse to drop the baby off at daycare, a task she usually does herself. The child's quiet--perhaps has fallen asleep--and the tired father slips into automatic pilot and drives straight to work the way he usally does, forgetting he was supposed to drop the kid off. If he doesn't happen to notice the sleeping babe in the back seat as he gets out, tragedy ensues.

There are ways a parent can safeguard against this happening, but they're contingent on his admitting it could happen and most loving parents truly do not believe they would be capable of actually forgetting about their child.

Nonny

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pinqy
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My sister and her husband are both well aware of the possibility of forgetting a child, so they both put their briefcase/purse/other bag in the back seat at all times so that they will always have to look in the back before leaving the car. Simple precautions that more people should take.

pinqy

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Lainie
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Pinqy, I agree -- what you sister and BIL do is very wise, and more people should do it. I think Nonny's captured the reason that practice isn't more common: many people believe that they don't have to take steps to prevent the problem because they would never do such a thing. But really, it should be seen as no different from using the appropriate car safety seat.

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
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There's also the teddy bear method. A teddy bear lives in the child's car seat. When you put the child in the seat, you take out the bear and put it in the front seat next to you. You see the bear in the front seat and and you never forget who's in the back seat.

Nonny

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When there isn't anything else worth analyzing, we examine our collective navel. I found thirty-six cents in change in mine the other day. Let no one say that there is no profit in philosophy. -- Silas Sparkhammer

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Mickey is a Hanukkah Bush
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I think I like Pinqy's method more...that's likely what I'll do when I have children.

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snopes
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Trying to save kids in hot cars

Alarms and ventilation systems might help, but only vigilance by adults can really ensure safety.

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/highway1/la-hy-wheels28jun28,1,1996310.story

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diddy
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quote:
Originally posted by our next contestant, Nonny Mouse:
There's also the teddy bear method. A teddy bear lives in the child's car seat. When you put the child in the seat, you take out the bear and put it in the front seat next to you. You see the bear in the front seat and and you never forget who's in the back seat.

Nonny

unless of course, you forget to check the passenger side before you exit out of the car...

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piyokochan
I Saw Three Shipments


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Not only do people do this to their kids, but they do this to their dogs, too. I remember once on a 90-degree day, the car next to us in a mall parking lot had a small dog in a sweater as whoever-it-was was apparently shopping leisurely (we called the police on them.) Just leave the dog at home for crying out loud! And if people do it to their kids, it may be because they just forgot (as stated above) but with dogs the people always seem to honestly believe "it doesn't mind the heat." [flame]

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TrishDaDish
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When I was a kid, my family wanted to go shopping at a retail store, and I didn't want to go. I was tired and fussy, so Ma said I could stay in the car is I wanted to. I have no idea how long they stayed in the store, but the inside of the car was sweltering, and I was sweating like a pig and could hardly breathe. The windows were open just a crack. (I guess I was too young to figure out how to roll down a window.) Now I wonder if they spent more time in the store, would I have died in there. Kinda creeps me out, thinking of that.

As for dog stories, when I was around 10 or so, I was out with my Ma and grandma and we saw a medium sized black dog in agony in a car. The windows weren't even half down, and it was trying to stick it's head out for air. I swear that dog had no bones, as it squished itself out through the window to get the hell out of the car. Another lady came by, took the dog to her car (she had a dog's water dish there), gave the poor thing a drink, left a note on the dog owner's car and took it to the shelter.

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I saw Mommy kismet Santa Claus
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We have a mirror behind the baby's seat so she can be seen in the rearview mirror. It's great for making sure she's ok when she suddenly becomes quiet, and as the passenger in front I can use it to see the little mouth for binky placement without removing my seatbelt [Smile] . But it also keeps the baby on my mind. Because I can see her, I check on her even when she's sleeping. Without that mirror, she's less in the forefront of my mind if I'm driving and she's sleeping.

I can totally see myself forgetting the baby. Maybe I'm less likely to actually do it because I worry about it. I don't know, but I do worry about it. I haven't had an uninterupted night's sleep in 4 months, after all.

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Ink Rose
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I believe someone could do this. It makes me sad. Especially as I know someone who almost drove off with the baby still gurgling happily in the carseat which was on the car's roof!!

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tribrats
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Anyone ever done the opposite? I've gotten places and went to get the baby out only to go into a state of panic because there was no kid! Done that several times. Once after dropping them off at their Grannie's. Couple times when I left them with Daddy shortly after one's birth. Once I even managed to drive an hour drive home after dropping Nathan at my Dad's and then had to call him to calm myself down. My poor Dad. It was Nathan's first overnight with them and I think Dad thought I didn't think he could do it (Nathan was maybe 6 months old).

Its just that being a SAH, they are with me 24/7 so everything I do/did- even going to the bathroom- I have/had to plan around them. (Not quite so much anymore but still...)

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Ganzfeld
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quote:
Originally posted by Ink Rose:
I believe someone could do this. It makes me sad. Especially as I know someone who almost drove off with the baby still gurgling happily in the carseat which was on the car's roof!!

Why in the world would you even put the carseat on the roof of the car anyway?!
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I saw Mommy kismet Santa Claus
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quote:
Originally posted by Ganzfeld:
quote:
Originally posted by Ink Rose:
I believe someone could do this. It makes me sad. Especially as I know someone who almost drove off with the baby still gurgling happily in the carseat which was on the car's roof!!

Why in the world would you even put the carseat on the roof of the car anyway?!
I wonder that myself. I always put the carseat straight into the base, it's easier and safer. I'd think that forgetting the baby on the roof would be less of a worry than the seat just toppling off!
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Floater
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quote:
Originally posted by Jonny T:
I keep misreading the title of this as "summer brings tragedy for children in cans" and being quite confused.

Are you perchance referring to those elusive bonsai kiddies?

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snoozn
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quote:
Originally posted by tribrats:
Anyone ever done the opposite? I've gotten places and went to get the baby out only to go into a state of panic because there was no kid! Done that several times. Once after dropping them off at their Grannie's. Couple times when I left them with Daddy shortly after one's birth. Once I even managed to drive an hour drive home after dropping Nathan at my Dad's and then had to call him to calm myself down. My poor Dad. It was Nathan's first overnight with them and I think Dad thought I didn't think he could do it (Nathan was maybe 6 months old).

Its just that being a SAH, they are with me 24/7 so everything I do/did- even going to the bathroom- I have/had to plan around them. (Not quite so much anymore but still...)

I am also a SAHM and have had the same thing happen--glad I'm not the only crazy one! My kids have so many different appointments and activities after school, that I will find myself freaking out "oh my god I forgot....." and then realize that of course the kid is not missing at all, but at the activity I just dropped them off for. I have worried about forgetting a kid ever since the first one was born, but luckily that's never happened.

snoozn

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monkey
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quote:
Anyone ever done the opposite? I've gotten places and went to get the baby out only to go into a state of panic because there was no kid!
*raises hand*

I totally do this. I'll be on my way to the store or to class, and Andrew is safely home with daddy, and I'll glance in the rearview mirror and realize my baby isn't in the car! And then after a second I'm like "Oh, right, he's not supposed to be in the car."

Andrew rarely stays with a sitter, so my husband and I both being in the car with no baby is a very rare occurence. We left him home with my best friend on our anniversary in May so we could go out for a fancy dinner in Little Rock (45 mins away). Halfway there we both went "Oh my god we forgot the baby!" We were about to turn around when we realized he was left at home on purpose!

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Cambion
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I'll add my two cents to this discussion. I don't think that anyone could genuinely forget their child in the car, no matter what season it is. These parents who "forget" their kids in the cat in 100-degree weather, I think, are intentionally trying to kill their children. Perhaps these parents figured parenthood would be all rainbows and puppies, but then when the hard reality hit them, they didn't want a kid anymore. If you think about it, leaving a kid in a car to bake under the sun is a pretty good way to dispose of the child. It arouses little suspicion and is considered almost excusable because of a human's nature to forget. I would even venture as far as to say some of these lunatics might do this just to get attention.

Think about it - could you seriously forget something you've invested thousands of dollars and tons of your time and patience in in the goddamn car?

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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quote:
Originally posted by Cambion:
Think about it - could you seriously forget something you've invested thousands of dollars and tons of your time and patience in in the goddamn car?

Yes, I believe some people can.

And it doesn't even take much of a stretch of imagination, either.

For example, I am very much a creature of habit. First thing in the morning, it is pretty much outside the realm of possibility that I am going to be able to remember to do something that is outside my already well-established routine.

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Lainie
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Cambion, did you miss the multiple, first-person accounts posted here of parents forgetting that their babies were not with them? To what sinister motive do you attribute those cases? It's essentially the same mistake: the parent forgets the child's location.

Also, note this quote from the OP article:

quote:
In Banyan's case, his father, 29-year-old Justin Roberts, was taking care of him and two other children. Roberts simply became distracted, said Payne County Undersheriff Noel Bagwell, calling the case a "tragic accident."
Do you really think you know better than the Payne County Undersheriff who actually investigated this case? If so, on what do you base that conclusion?

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Fuchsia
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quote:
The child's quiet--perhaps has fallen asleep--and the tired father slips into automatic pilot and drives straight to work the way he usally does,
My husband almost did this last week, but realized it before he went on the turnpike to go to work.

I like the idea of putting one's briefcase, lunchbag etc. in the backseat. I always put the diaper/daycare bags in the backseat so I don't forget to take them in to daycare, but I should keep my other bags back there too in the event I just go to work instead of stopping at daycare, which is literally 2 minutes away from my office.

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tagurit
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quote:
Originally posted by AnglRdr:
quote:
Originally posted by Cambion:
Think about it - could you seriously forget something you've invested thousands of dollars and tons of your time and patience in in the goddamn car?

Yes, I believe some people can.

And it doesn't even take much of a stretch of imagination, either.

For example, I am very much a creature of habit. First thing in the morning, it is pretty much outside the realm of possibility that I am going to be able to remember to do something that is outside my already well-established routine.

Aye. Same here. A friend of mine actually drove all the way to work with her toddler daughter in the back seat, but thankfully, saw the child as she was parking, called the office to explain, then drove off to take the child to day care. Let me tell you, she was one freaked out lady, thinking of the possibilities as she must've been...

And, Cambion, not only a huge investment, but something you love dearly, more than life itself.

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Little Pink Pill
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quote:
Originally posted by Cambion:
I'll add my two cents to this discussion. I don't think that anyone could genuinely forget their child in the car, no matter what season it is.

I think you underestimate human frailty. But if you haven't yet discovered for yourself that people can really be that busy, that stressed, that tired, and that distracted, I hope you can find it in you to be gracious to those who have a different lifestyle than yours.

You expressed the kind of approach that has gotten me in trouble before. An, "I could never do that" attitude means, as Nonny pointed out, that you never bother to safeguard yourself against something. Through some hard lessons I've come to a place where I believe that, in the right circumstances, under the right pressures, I am pretty much capable of anything, and I don't mean in a good way. I'm not above the mistakes and pitfalls of my fellow man. So now I protect myself and my loved ones by assuming it could, indeed, happen to me, even if I have a very hard time imagining how.

Edited

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Auntie Witch
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I've forgotten to take Rina to daycare before. I pulled in the school parking lot, and if I hadn't had stuff I needed in the back seat that day, there's no telling what would have happened. To imply that I had some ulterior motive is quite insulting, and it's insulting to the parents who genuinely forgot about their kids being with them. They have enough guilt without someone implying they did it intentionally.

As far as putting the car seat on top of the car, perhaps it's done to prevent setting the kid down in the street? I never did that, but I've seen a lot of people put things on top of their cars as they open the doors, etc.

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
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quote:
Originally posted by Cambion:
I'll add my two cents to this discussion. I don't think that anyone could genuinely forget their child in the car, no matter what season it is. These parents who "forget" their kids in the cat in 100-degree weather, I think, are intentionally trying to kill their children. Perhaps these parents figured parenthood would be all rainbows and puppies, but then when the hard reality hit them, they didn't want a kid anymore. If you think about it, leaving a kid in a car to bake under the sun is a pretty good way to dispose of the child. It arouses little suspicion and is considered almost excusable because of a human's nature to forget. I would even venture as far as to say some of these lunatics might do this just to get attention.

Think about it - could you seriously forget something you've invested thousands of dollars and tons of your time and patience in in the goddamn car?

There's an old expression that I think is pertinent here:

"Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity."

It is generally a mistake to underestimate the human ability to do stupid things, especially when the human in question is overstressed or overtired.

Nonny

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When there isn't anything else worth analyzing, we examine our collective navel. I found thirty-six cents in change in mine the other day. Let no one say that there is no profit in philosophy. -- Silas Sparkhammer

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Joe Bentley
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I'm not buying the "routine makes you forget" song and dance.

For instance. As part of my duty every 6 days I carry a fully loaded, fully automatic machine gun for 4 hours. So I think its safe to say that handling heavy weapons is more "routine" for me then it is for most people.

So it would be okay if I was to fire a round into someone's head? After all I can blame it on me getting "stuck in a routine."

Bottom line... we simply have to accept that they are some things you'd better the hell pay more attention to. Guns and children are certainly two of them.

"Oh my God I forgot my child was in the car" and "Oh my God I forgot the gun was loaded." Same thing. And neither is excusable.

I don't care if they didn't mean to or not. Malice isn't a prerequsite for a crime. Negligence can be just as criminal.

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"Existence has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long." - Rorschach, The Watchmen

Posts: 8929 | From: Norfolk, Virginia | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
tagurit
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Hardly the same thing, Joe. Do you routinely fire that weapon at the same time everyday? Particularly in the morning when only half awake? If I had a dollar for everytime I've left to go somewhere in the morning, other than work, and find myself starting to take the work route out of habit, I'd be a rich woman. It's a matter of routine, of doing the same thing over and over, day after day. It's the thing out of routine that throws you the curve.

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Explore, enjoy and protect the planet
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AAMAH

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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Negligence is a crime very different from malice, which is why both negligent homicide and first-degree murder are against the law, but separate crimes.

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

Posts: 19266 | From: Nashville, TN | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Joe Bentley
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I'm not saying that baking your child into a chicken nugget intentionally and doing it by accidently should carry the same punishment but this song and dance about "how they've suffered enough" is B.S.

That and the huge, massive difference in the attitude shown on this board between when non-parents hurt children (i.e. the "String up the bastards! Don't wait for a trial!" mentality we see proudly displayed) and this is so striking it boarders on hypocrasy.

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"Existence has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long." - Rorschach, The Watchmen

Posts: 8929 | From: Norfolk, Virginia | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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