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By ALLEN G. BREED, AP National Writer
43 minutes ago



MANASSAS, Va. - Kevin Kelly is a law-abiding citizen who, much distracted, left his beloved 21-month-old daughter in a sweltering van for seven hours. Frances Kelly had probably been dead for more than four hours by the time a neighbor noticed her strapped in her car seat; when rescue personnel removed the girl from the vehicle, her skin was red and blistered, her fine, carrot-colored hair matted with sweat. Two hours later, her body temperature was still nearly 106 degrees.

What is the appropriate punishment for a doting parent responsible for his child's death? A judge eventually spared Kelly a lengthy term in prison. Still, it is a question that is asked dozens of times each year.

Since the mid-1990s, the number of children who died of heat exhaustion while trapped inside vehicles has risen dramatically, totaling around 340 in the past 10 years. Ironically, one reason was a change parent-drivers made to protect their kids after juvenile air-bag deaths peaked in 1995 — they put them in the back seat, where they are more easily forgotten.

An Associated Press analysis of more than 310 fatal incidents in the past 10 years found that prosecutions and penalties vary widely, depending in many cases on where the death occurred and who left the child to die — parent or caregiver, mother or father:

_Mothers are treated much more harshly than fathers. While mothers and fathers are charged and convicted at about the same rates, moms are 26 percent more like ................................

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070728/ap_on_re_us/left_to_die

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My DH recently left our 2yo DS in the car....

DH dropped DD and I off at DD's dance class and said that he was going to go get gas and come right back....DS was asleep in the carseat so I let him go with Daddy...I was in the waiting area at dance class when DH came in and looked at me kinda funny and before he said anything I sweetly asked "Where's Bubba?"

DH's eyes got great big, he did a 180 out the door, and returned in just a few short minutes carrying a sleepy boy.....in our rush, he forgot that DS wasnt taken from the car when DD and I got out!!!

my kids are both old enough to pitch a fit and get out of the car....unless they were asleep....then I guess they could die before they wake or were remembered....

I am always deeply saddened when I hear about babies left in cars.

Rachel
 

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My 5 year old climbed into our van while I was at home and couldn't get back out. If I hadn't gone outside to catch the escaping goats, I wouldn't have known he was stuck in the car. As it was I barely heard him crying to get out when I walked right by the van.

It can happen to even very careful parents. I usually keep my van locked, but that day it was unlocked so my husband could unload the feed for me.

:( RedTartan
 

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Doting parent????WHAT???

How do you not notice that you haven't seen your child in SEVEN hours?? If my I happen to be on a project or cleaning rampage and they decide to go out to play or go down to the basement, if I don't hear them for thirty minutes or so, I give a holler..."hey, guys, ya'll alright down there?" If they didn't answer, I'd go looking. It's not that complicated.

I guess I more understand this happening the way RachAnn described, but I can bet you hers wasn't left for seven hours!! If someone doesn't notice a child missing after seven hours (especially such a YOUNG child!), maybe they should rethink having kids at all. This is soooo sad.

Rachael
 

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Discussion Starter #5
matt633 said:
Doting parent????WHAT???

How do you not notice that you haven't seen your child in SEVEN hours?? If my I happen to be on a project or cleaning rampage and they decide to go out to play or go down to the basement, if I don't hear them for thirty minutes or so, I give a holler..."hey, guys, ya'll alright down there?" If they didn't answer, I'd go looking. It's not that complicated.

I guess I more understand this happening the way RachAnn described, but I can bet you hers wasn't left for seven hours!! If someone doesn't notice a child missing after seven hours (especially such a YOUNG child!), maybe they should rethink having kids at all. This is soooo sad.

Rachael
Moms who stay at home with there children see them almost all day.

Dads who work, only see little children about about 3 - 4 hours in the evening after they come home from work and little children go to bed early.

It is easy for a dad to not remember what the children are doing because they are not around them as much as mom's are.

With a lot of dad's it is like out of sight out of mind.

bumpus
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bumpus said:
It is easy for a dad to not remember what the children are doing because they are not around them as much as mom's are.

With a lot of dad's it is like out of sight out of mind.

I'm sorry but it shouldn't be that way.. If you have your kids in the car your responsible for making sure they are taken out of the car when the car stops..
thats just an excuse that men aren't around enough the kids to remember, My Dh has never forgotten the kids in the car when he'd had to go places..
 

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Petunia40 said:
bumpus said:
It is easy for a dad to not remember what the children are doing because they are not around them as much as mom's are.

With a lot of dad's it is like out of sight out of mind.

I'm sorry but it shouldn't be that way.. If you have your kids in the car your responsible for making sure they are taken out of the car when the car stops..
thats just an excuse that men aren't around enough the kids to remember, My Dh has never forgotten the kids in the car when he'd had to go places..
It's not an excuse !

Have you ever forgot anything in your life ?

Thank God your Dh hasn't forgotten your children.

But it does happen and these people ( men and women ) are not doing this on purpose, it is a sad thing but people do forget.

But maybe you don't or won't understand that because it has never happened to you yet, but it could one day if the situation is right, even to you.

This happens more that is reported because all of the children have no died.

bumpus
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How does anyone go SEVEN hours without noticing your child is missing? I can understand a few minutes, but 7 hours!! A responsible parent would of noticed the child was missing within an hour, and that is stretching it, regardless of the sex of the parent.
 

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Oh my lord...what a HORRIBLE death. I feel sick to my stomach even thinking of any poor baby/child left in a car. What an absolute nightmare. Just imagine the total terror,misery & pain... I HATE the heat, it would be the absolute worst way to go I can imagine, trapped,unbearable heat... I cannot even begin to imagine the horror that these children went through.
 

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S.A.J. said:
How does anyone go SEVEN hours without noticing your child is missing? I can understand a few minutes, but 7 hours!! A responsible parent would of noticed the child was missing within an hour, and that is stretching it, regardless of the sex of the parent.
Exactly!
And it is the thinking that fathers should not be as responsible as mothers that got us in this ONE parent society we are in now....flame away. Fathers, regardless of how much they work or see a child, should be just as aware. Because they are their children just as much as they are the stay home mom's or working mom's children. There is NO EXCUSE for less than responsible parenting. None.
God Bless,
Michele
 

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S.A.J. said:
How does anyone go SEVEN hours without noticing your child is missing? I can understand a few minutes, but 7 hours!! A responsible parent would of noticed the child was missing within an hour, and that is stretching it, regardless of the sex of the parent.

Yes. How can anyone forget they have a kid for seven hours? How can any parent go for seven hours without wondering "I wonder what my kid is up to?".

I don't buy it.

I saw a kid left in their unlocked car in the underground (read climate controllled) parking lot at the grodery store. I went up to customer service and told them and they called the police.

I think about my *dogs* more often than every seven hours. Or even every hour. And that's when I know where they are and that they're safe.
 

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a few years ago in my ex hometown, three boys came up missing down in the ghetto... police and the neighborhood looked every where then found them a few days later in the trunk of a car in the Apartment parking lot. The boys had climbed in there while playing.
 

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Ravenlost said:
So, in this country fathers aren't expected to be as responsible as mothers?

UGH...I've always hated double standards.
I totally agree.

And bumpus... there are plenty of stay at home dads out there, so perhaps we can do without the gender stereotyping as an excuse.

This story is a horrible tragedy and indicates quite profoundly that people live life too fast and with too many distractions.
 

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booklover said:
And bumpus... there are plenty of stay at home dads out there, so perhaps we can do without the gender stereotyping as an excuse.
It's not about men and women.

Your missing the point.
Even the report in the first post explains why people forget if you would read it more carefully.

Have you ever forgot anything in you life and felt like that you can't see how you did forget, because it was your responsibility.

None of these people planed to forget but they did, and believe it or not you could forget something that could endanger your children if you have any or even someone else.

No one is beyond forgetting if the circumstances where just right.

Also these are not planed murders they are terrible accidents, that even hurt the parents.

bumpus
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Those who think "this can never happen to me" should rethink their attitude and adjust their humility level.

Did you read the entire article? Don't judge until you have walked in their shoes. It may not have been forgetting your child was in the car, it may have been some other situation where you forgot to lock a door or gate, or didn't think that that lovely fluffy quilt might be a danger to your baby, or that an unsecured dresser could topple on your toddler when they try to climb to the top. There are all sorts of situations where we just don't think about the potential danger, or have a moments lapse of attention.

I have a friend whose son is a parapelegic because his grandmother had his bottle roll from the back seat under her feet when she was driving him home from seeing his mom in the hospital. Did she think when she gave him the bottle to calm him while she drove that it would cause an accident?

Another family near us drove over their young child when he escaped the house and ran behind the car to say goodby to daddy.

We could have lost our grandaughter to heat stroke in a car. There were a series of circumstances. It was her oldest sister's birthday. Her dad brought the 3 middle kids to our house while he helped with shearing. As the birthday hour approached, shearing wasn't finished, so my husband drove the kids home in their van. The 3 1/2 year old fell asleep on the 5 minute drive. At home the older kids, excited about the party, got out and ran in the house, leaving the youngest. My husband picked something up from the house, got back in the van and drove home, unaware that he still had one kid, who couldn't be seen from the driver's seat due to the high seat backs from outside though the darkened windows.

Her mother assumed she had stayed with her dad. The rest of us thought she had gone with the older kids and was with her mom.

She woke up, couldn't undo the seatbelts on her carseat. She couldn't get the window open and she couldn't quite reach her water. When her dad got into the van to drive home 2 hours later, he heard a little voice, "Daddy I'm thirsty." He looked around the drivers seat to see a soaking wet little girl with scratch marks on her chest where she had tried to get our of the seatbelts that held her safe and secure for driving. Her little carseat was filled with her sweat.

He rushed her in and we lowered her temperature in the bath, feeding her copious amounts of lemonade. Fortunately it wasn't a super hot day, and it was slightly overcast. She survived with no permanent damage.

We all learned something that day. One of the things we learned was to not say "It can't happen to us." I don't think these things just happen. There was a lapse in safety procedures by her grandfather who was in charge on the trip, but it was a normal lapse at an unusually busy and stressful time. Those times happen to all of us sooner or later. We don't always have all our wits about us. Fortunately bad things don't happen most of the time when we are less cautious than the situation demands.

Most of the time, the bottle stays in the child's grasp, the toddler waves goodby from the porch and the kid stays awake for a 5 minute drive and hollers loudly when she is left behind on party day.

Most of the time, but not always.
 

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Bumpus, you are missing my point. Nowhere in the article (yes I read the whole thing) does it say that the man in the opening paragraph is a working man. He could just as easily be a stay at home dad. You are stereotyping women as being stay at home mothers and therefore should be punished more severely because we "see our kids more often". My point is that men are just as likely to be the stay at home parent in those homes with a stay at home parent and should not be treated any differently.

And yes, as the article stated "the stressed-out brain" forgets. If life moves so fast that you forget about your kid in the car, maybe you should slow down some. Heck we should all slow down some.
 

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There is a HUGE difference between an accident and negligence. A child left for 7 hours is not an accident. It is negligence and should be treated as so.
I once accidentally locked my keys and young child in the car. I knew right away what had happened and called 911. I was lucky. It was an accident in the sense I didn't want to hurt my child but I also knew I should have paid more attention to where I lay my keys. I didn't blame a stressed out mind, it was me being lax in my #1 job as a parent....to protect them. There was no excuse for it other than it is my job as a parent to pay more attention. I tell my kids accidents happen but most of the time if we are paying attention they happen less.
The problem isn't that accidents are happening. The problem is that in todays society negligence is being excused.
And what booklover said.....if your stressed out life leads you to leave an innocent gift of God locked in a car for 7 hours to die.....you might need to reassess your life stresses and see if it's worth it.
God Bless,
Michele
 

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"Sentences may vary" . . . but not the real sentence, your child is dead and died a terrible death because of YOUR forgetfulness, being stressed out, whatever. My God, what a bunch of useless, inane excuses.

Those of you who so bravely gave your own examples of "almost" forgetting a kid in a hot car, yeah, I know that happens to the best of parents. But there is NO comparison between yourselves and a parent who leaves a baby in a car for seven hours. It's NOT the good and doting parents who accidentally forget their kids until the kid is dead. One of the most disgusting things I've seen, to make excuses for something like this . . .
 

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MicheleMomof4 said:
There is a HUGE difference between an accident and negligence. A child left for 7 hours is not an accident. It is negligence and should be treated as so.
I once accidentally locked my keys and young child in the car.
So you have decided that by your theology it is that leaving the child and keys in the care and locking it was an accident and not neglect.

What else was on your mind that distracted you ?

But according to what you wrote it sounds like you got in a hurry and neglected to put you keys in your pocket, or purse, and you also left your child in the car with the windows up and you locked the doors with out thinking.

You proved my point that people can easily forget.

And if a child ( depending on the size of the child ) would knock the car out of gear then down the parking lot or driveway the car and child goes all in just a few minutes all because of neglect to pay attention, and now the car is recked and the child could be injured badly or even dead.

Glad and thankful that did not happen to you, but it could have and be caused by neglect by anyone under the same condition.

MicheleMomof4 ... You say you agree with booklover "the stressed-out brain" forgets.

You may have a small stress problem that could cause this simular situatuion in the future ! ! !

People do have a lot on ther mind.

bumpus
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