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Author Topic: Summer Brings Tragedy for Children in Cars
Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bentley:
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."

Unless you routinely point and fire your weapon at people's heads as part of your duty, this is a pretty bad analogy.

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"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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"Routine makes you forget" is a real phenomenon, like it or not. Interface designers who ignore it will learn very quickly that it happens to most of us and fairly often.
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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bentley:
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.

Well, nobody has said, that I can tell, that negligent parents shouldn't be punished, so, ya know...what?

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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

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Esprise Me
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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Cambion, let me get this straight: you think the idea of a parent forgetting a child in the back seat is so outlandishly improbable that it could never happen, yet you think parents who want to murder their children will seize upon this excuse because it is "a pretty good way to dispose of the child" since "it arouses little suspicion." How, exactly, does that work?

ETA: See my sig line!

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"If God wrote it, the grammar must be infallible. Perhaps it is we who are mistaken." -MapleLeaf

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Zachary Fizz
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bentley:
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.

Joe, I'm sure that deep down you can tell the moral and emotional difference between the wilful murder of a stranger, and the accidental death of one's own child.
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Cambion
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I'll give some leeway to parents who may be in a rush to get somewhere or are tired, stressed, etc. I can understand how easy it is for anyone to forget things under such circumstances. But what I don't get is how a parent will remember to bring their cell phone and purse/wallet in a store with them, but will leave the kid in the car. The way I see it as far as intentionally leaving the kids to fry, other people might look at such a situation and think "Oh, how tragic...but it's human nature to forget", so therefore the parents' actions are excusable to some degree. Something that looks so much like an accident in any case would be a fine way to get rid of an unwanted child.

This also runs along the lines somewhat of the cases of SIDS that were actually infanticide. Some cases of either SIDS or little sizzlers are definitely genuine accidents, but there's also that percentage that are intentional. There's no telling just how many infant car deaths are infanticide.

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Little Pink Pill
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by Zachary Fizz:
Joe, I'm sure that deep down you can tell the moral and emotional difference between the wilful murder of a stranger, and the accidental death of one's own child.

I don't think that's what Joe is saying. I think (and Joe, my apologies and please corect me if I'm wrong here) that he is talking about the sympathy we would give another parent who left a child in the car versus, say, a babysitter who did the same thing. I know I personally would have more compassion for the parent, both because of the routine issue as well as an enormous empathy for their grief. I would more easily assume extenuating circumstances, whereas with a part time babysitter, I would be quicker to condemn, knowing they didn't have the emotional investment and that, for pete's sake, that's all they were supposed to be doing that day, the idiot. I can see how that would seem unfair to a non-parent.

However, I do think both should probably go to trial. A jury should determined whether it was negligence or intent, and to what degree. Having said that, though, as a parent, I would care very little about a prison sentence. My life would pretty much be over, anyway.

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The technical term is narcissism. You can't believe everything is your fault unless you also believe you're all powerful.--House

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Zachary Fizz
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Little Pink Pill:
quote:
Originally posted by Zachary Fizz:
Joe, I'm sure that deep down you can tell the moral and emotional difference between the wilful murder of a stranger, and the accidental death of one's own child.

I don't think that's what Joe is saying. I think (and Joe, my apologies and please corect me if I'm wrong here) that he is talking about the sympathy we would give another parent who left a child in the car versus, say, a babysitter who did the same thing. I know I personally would have more compassion for the parent, both because of the routine issue as well as an enormous empathy for their grief. I would more easily assume extenuating circumstances, whereas with a part time babysitter, I would be quicker to condemn, knowing they didn't have the emotional investment and that, for pete's sake, that's all they were supposed to be doing that day, the idiot. I can see how that would seem unfair to a non-parent.

However, I do think both should probably go to trial. A jury should determined whether it was negligence or intent, and to what degree. Having said that, though, as a parent, I would care very little about a prison sentence. My life would pretty much be over, anyway.

Ah, yes in that case I agree entirely. And in fairness to Joe Bentley, he did say in his first paragraph that he did distinguish deliberate and accidental incidents. Sorry, Joe!
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Little Pink Pill
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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Here's a twist: 97 Year Old Grandmother Locked in Sweltering Car. Passersby called 911, and she was found incoherent and dehydrated by paramedics, but her daughter was angry that other shoppers "didn't mind their business."

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The technical term is narcissism. You can't believe everything is your fault unless you also believe you're all powerful.--House

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Neffti Noel
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Cambion:
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.

I can't tell whether this is an opinion you genuinely hold, or a bit of hyperbole because you're naturally upset about the death of these children.

If it's the former, then I have to disagree with you on the intent issue. I believe that proving a person's intent to commit infanticide requires rather more than an assumption like this, and thank goodness for that.

You seem to be saying that parents who are finding parenting difficult might consider arranging for the death of their children. Of course it's possible and probably has happened, but if authorities who dealt with the families in these hot car cases believe that the incident was not deliberately orchestrated, then speculation like this is unhelpful.

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guruwan2b
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Well my kids are all bigger now. The youngest being 11 and I have driven right past daycare on to work with her still in the car. Even if I am talking to her at the time, my brain forgot to tell me "turn - daycare". She laughs about it. It seems to happen more often when I am tired or not quite awake yet.

I think there should be some way to make an alarm that would hook into the buckle on the baby seat. If the buckle is engaged (around baby) and the temp reaches over a certain temperature it would trigger. The problem would be an empty car heating up, then you put the baby in the carseat before the car cools down, and the alarm blows.

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Too much of this navel gazing and we'll disappear up our own arses.
Danvers Carew

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Cambion:
I'll give some leeway to parents who may be in a rush to get somewhere or are tired, stressed, etc. I can understand how easy it is for anyone to forget things under such circumstances. But what I don't get is how a parent will remember to bring their cell phone and purse/wallet in a store with them, but will leave the kid in the car.


Again, let's go back to the habit thing: your workday morning routine is, and has been for several years, to get up, dressed, out the door with your purse, briefcase, and phone. But, once every couple of months, you take the baby to daycare. Now, if you're lucky, daycare is on the way to your office, so, hopefully, the visual reminder of Junior's school will snap you out of your early morning autopilot routine enough to remind you that Junior is in the back seat. If, however, daycare is a different direction altogether from your office, so you don't get that visual reminder, and you are in autopilot, it is possible that when you get to the office, you have forgotten that now-sleeping Junior hitched a ride with you this morning (which is why the putting the purse/briefcase in the backseat is good advice). I can especially see how this would happen to very new parents.

My little anecdote: the day I got out of the hospital four days after my daughter was born, my mom and I went to McDonalds for lunch. Because I'd had a c-section, I couldn't hold the baby in her carseat, so my mom was holding her. I stood in line and my mom told me she'd be right back. And she came back about 30 seconds later. But she didn't have the baby. I inquired after the missing child, and she was so embarrased. She had put the car seat (with the baby still strapped in) on a table to save us a spot without thinking about the fact that it wasn't a shopping back or something she was putting there, but my daughter.

quote:
The way I see it as far as intentionally leaving the kids to fry, other people might look at such a situation and think "Oh, how tragic...but it's human nature to forget", so therefore the parents' actions are excusable to some degree. Something that looks so much like an accident in any case would be a fine way to get rid of an unwanted child.

While I don't disagree with that, I would say that there are probably easier ways to "get rid of" an unwanted child than that.

quote:
This also runs along the lines somewhat of the cases of SIDS that were actually infanticide. Some cases of either SIDS or little sizzlers are definitely genuine accidents, but there's also that percentage that are intentional. There's no telling just how many infant car deaths are infanticide.
Could be. But I would imagine it is fewer than you seem to believe.

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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

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Lawgiver
Deck the Malls


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I have actually driven halfway to work before and realized I had forgotten to rinse the conditioner out of my hair (sadly, this has happened on more than one occasion) so I always put my purse next to the babys carseat. I may forget the baby, or I may forget my purse, I dont think I could forget both.

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I looked at my sleeping husband and longed to plunge my elbow through his peaceful face. ~ Annissa

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LemonLimeade
Deck the Malls


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I hate these stories - I just read one about a mom who forgot to drop the baby at daycare, and it died (when she went to pick the baby up and the baby wasn't there but was in the car, dead), and a mom who intentionally left the baby in the car while she gambled and it died too. I've always tended to have little sympathy - yes, we all screw up; I've left my keys in my car more times than I care to admit, but damn, your own baby? The baby became foremost in my mind day and night from the moment she was born. I just don't understand how anyone can forget that, ever, no matter how many times people explain about sleep deprivation or routine or what-have-you. I recently read that these particular cases are dealt with more leniently in Japan (I think it was Japan) because of the fact that the parents really are already suffering the loss of the child. Myself, I'm torn. I really did say "That could never happen to me" and I honestly believe it never could have. Not just because it never did but because I couldn't forget about the baby for a second anyway. Maybe being a SAHM and not having a daycare dropoff/drive-to-work routine had something to do with it, since so many of these seem to be daycare drop-offs and routines. But that opens a large can of worms I suppose.

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Those who beat their swords into plowshares will plow for those who don't.

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Venus
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by Cambion:
These parents who "forget" their kids in the cat in 100-degree weather,

Oh man, if i had a nickel for every time i forgot something in the cat! [lol]


Anyway, i've forgotten things because they went against my daily routine plenty of times. I'm a projectionist at a movie theater so my whole job is repetition and routine, so if i'm asked something simple like "Don't thread projector #4 because i need to fill the oil." I could very well forget and do it anyway because i've gone into routine mode, I've done that several times. I know it's nowhere near being in the same league as forgetting a baby, but i know what it's like to completely forget something because it goes against what you normally do.

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smackmac
Jingle Bell Hock


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I used to think "Never happen" until I almost left my 4 year old son at a store some years ago. We both thought that the other had got my son in the car, but when we started to pull away, there he was staring at us. I screamed to stop the car and spent days apologizing to my son, who didn't really seem to think that much of it, but knew my guilt would get him all kinds of new toys. I still have nightmares about that.

Regarding the things on the roof of the car - I left a briefcase on the roof once and drove about 4 blocks up a hill with it, wondering why the car behind me was honking at me.

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"Maybe getting in the last word doesn't really mean you win." - The Clarks

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Kaki0401
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I remember growing up, I'm the oldest of three kids, and having every activity known to man after school. My younger siblings weren't old enough to have many activities yet. My brother at the time was 4 or 5 years old and at 8 I spent 6 days a week practicing gymnastics.

Well one saturday we had an early practice and my brother normally would be at my grandparents house or with my dad, everyone was busy and couldn't watch him that day so he came to the gym with me and my mom. They'd left in the middle of practice and upon return I only saw my mom walk in the gym. My brother was playing in a "kids" room made specifically for the siblings of the gymnasts to keep themselves occupied and off the mats. After practice ended my mom said come on lets go and she didn't remember he was with us and we drove home. About half way home it dawned on her that she left my brother at the gym and frantically drove back. He really didn't seem to care much that we'd left him there. Another family who had kids around the same age as him had stayed there hoping my mom realized her mistake.

ETA: I myself have no children of my own but my nephew was basically like my own kid when he was born. He often spent the night at my house if his parents weren't able to watch him and there were days I'd drive to work and then realize I'd forgotten to leave him at grandma's house on the way.

Out of habit I always leave my purse in the backseat of my car, not because of the baby just do it all the time. So when I went to get my purse and lunch the alarm went off when I saw the baby in the backseat.

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Ligeia
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Just to jump on the "routine makes you forget" bandwagon: My dad was driving me to school one day. I was fourteen years old, I was sitting in the front seat and talking to him. He still ended up driving toward his office. It was just where he always went in the morning. I reminded him that he should have turned the opposite direction and we had a good laugh about it, but if I had been a sleeping baby. . . well, I don't like to think about that.

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Fight evil diaper rash!

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Zorro
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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Stories like these make me glad that hubby and I always put our bags for work in the backseat of our respective cars, anyway.

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"Seize the day! Make your lives extraordinary!"
-John Keating, "Dead Poets Society"

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Nicki
Deck the Malls


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quote:

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. [/QB]

So the briefcase is important enough to remember but not the child? I don't think I can buy into the "I forgot". Hopefully a parent is more responsible than that.
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Die Capacitrix
We Three Blings


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The point of the briefcase/purse is that it's part of the routine. Any break in the routine can lead to death.

Nathan Krause, who lived in Lower Frederick Township, used a wheelchair and couldn't talk, died Monday after his family accidentally left him strapped in a steaming van for eight hours...Ferman said Nathan Krause's death resulted from a miscommunication between Krause's mother and another family member.

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"Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces." Judith Viorst

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Any time you break routine, bad things can happen. Back when we had babies, I'd taken my kids to work (instead of daycare) more than once. Now my kids are NOT ones to sleep quietly in the back seat, so I never left them in the car, but had they been quiet... [Eek!]

I did leave a sleeping baby in the backseat of a car having its tires changed. No one at the shop noticed either. I realized it when the car was up on the lift with no tires.

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And now for something completely different...

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
Once in Royal Circuit City


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It isn't that the briefcase is more important than the child. It's that the briefcase is something that will be needed at work, and therefore will automatically be retrieved upon arriving there. Also, in the unlikely event that the parent forgets both the child and the briefcase, the parent will soon notice the absence of the briefcase, which he generally has with him at work, and have to go back to the car for it.

Also, a parent who always keeps his briefcase in the backseat even when he doesn't have his child has an edge over a parent who doesn't, because he's making his routine work for him.

Really, implying that parents who resort to these measures are somehow less responsible is singularly unhelpful. Stacking the deck against the possibility of making potentially tragic mistakes is really a very responsible thing to do.

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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Buzzkiller
Deck the Malls


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quote:
my guilt would get him all kinds of new toys
Wait...kids who get forgotten are supposed to get new toys? When I was five I got left at home: Mom thought I was Dad, who thought I was with Mom, and I was actually locked out of the house in a very quiet rural subdivision. It was more than an hour before they even realized I was missing from their midst. I was pretty traumatized, and what did I get? Nothing!
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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by Buzzkiller:
quote:
my guilt would get him all kinds of new toys
Wait...kids who get forgotten are supposed to get new toys? When I was five I got left at home: Mom thought I was Dad, who thought I was with Mom, and I was actually locked out of the house in a very quiet rural subdivision. It was more than an hour before they even realized I was missing from their midst. I was pretty traumatized, and what did I get? Nothing!
Same here. I was left in the grocery store by my Mom when I was about 5. What did I get? Same thing, nothin'.

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And now for something completely different...

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Eve MG
Happy Holly Days


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The day my daughter was born, this happened to a baby around here. I saw it on the 11:00 news as I rocked my 21-hour old daughter, I think that's why I never forgot the story (or the day it happened, of course).

Our local paper charges to read old stories, but you can get pretty good summaries of what happened from the search results here.

I can't find any more about what happened to the father after that, but it looks from the articles like he was charged with criminally negligent homicide and spent the weekend in jail.

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I love dairy! Does that mean I can't be a vegan?

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pinqy
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I just find it interesting that neither Cambion nor Joe Bentley have ever forgotten anything important...not a single bill, meeting, keys, wallet/purse, anything at all it was important to remember. I wish I was like that.

The thing is, I think those two are combining different things. Some parents do negligently leave their children in the car while they pop into the store, but that's not what we're talking about. In every single case I've heard of for accidental deaths in the car, it was the parent who normally did not take the child to day care or school who, while on the way to work, forgot. Or parents that mistakenly thought that the other parent had the child. Very few of us consider that this might happen so almost no one gives it special importance. Sure we tend to remember things that are more important, but how many people think it's important to remember the baby when it never occurs to them that they might forget? We attach special importance to things we think we might forget and don't for things we assume we'll remember, no matter how important.

pinqy

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Don't Forget!
Winter Solstice Hanukkah Christmas Kwanzaa & Gurnenthar's Ascendance Are Coming!

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Ink Rose
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Why in the world would you even put the carseat on the roof of the car anyway?!
Well, for one thing, the person doing it was rather scatterbrained. Secondly, he put the baby up there so he could buckle the other child in. He had stopped and gotten them both out, and he didn't want to leave the carseat on the ground.

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Aussie Girl
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Ligeia:
Just to jump on the "routine makes you forget" bandwagon: My dad was driving me to school one day. I was fourteen years old, I was sitting in the front seat and talking to him. He still ended up driving toward his office. It was just where he always went in the morning. I reminded him that he should have turned the opposite direction and we had a good laugh about it, but if I had been a sleeping baby. . . well, I don't like to think about that.

When I was in High School, I was in the car with my mother, talking to her, and we managed to get halfway to her work before she realised I had to be dropped off at school. The kicker here is that we had to drive past the school for her to get to work. So, yes, people can definitely wind up on autopilot, and it takes a bit to focus them on something outside that routine.

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Posts: 204 | From: CQ, Australia | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Dreamer
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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This happened to a store near us. A woman's child was at that screaming, kicking 'I want this!!!' stage of life, and she didn't want to drag a screaming kid around the supermarket, so left him in the car. However, it was in the middle of one of our heatwaves, and it got very very hot in the car. The kid didn't die, but police and an ambulance were called and i believe the woman was charged with child negligence. I just think it was a mixture of seriously harrassed mother and not realising how hot it was (we're not used to heatwaves yet, we're still surprised by how hot it can get)
Posts: 2 | From: London, England | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
franjava
Deck the Malls


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My parents left me at church one evening. They got all the way home and my sister had to tell them to turn around and get me. But I done turned out okey dokey. [dunce]

I'm always thinking I've forgotten my daughter when I leave her with Daddy. I went to the mall the other day by myself and felt weird not having a kid and stroller with me.

A friend has left her son at two different places. The first time, she thought the father had him; the second time, she was talking to him all the way home (thought he was giving her the silent treatment!) Forgetting or losing kids is actually pretty danrned easy!

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Never eat anything given to you by a toddler.

Posts: 258 | From: Rochester, NY | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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