Where I spray-paint my thoughts…

Tragic … but Stupid


I heard a story on the news yesterday morning that absolutely gutted me — but made me angry too.

I hate to criticize someone who has suffered the worst tragedy a person can suffer – the loss of a young child — but I don’t understand why the police are calling this a terrible accident no-one could have foreseen, and I don’t know why the outcry is all around the dangers of power windows and how car manufacturers should install more safety features.

This parent left a six-year-old and a two-year-old alone in a car with the engine on. Not for a couple of minutes while she ran into the store to get milk either — although even that would be ridiculous to do with the engine on — but long enough to go into an office building (where she presumably couldn’t see the car) and run an errand. Long enough for the six-year-old to unbuckle the restless two-year-old from her carseat and then, apparently, long enough for the six-year-old to fall asleep in the front seat.

Seriously, this woman has suffered a terrible loss, and it’s awful that a moment’s carelessness can result in the ending of a young life and such tragedy for the family. But let’s call it what it is — carelessness. Not an unforeseeable accident, not a design flaw in the power windows. You just don’t leave two small children alone in a car with the engine turned on. Why would anyone even think that was OK?

Supposedly we live in a society where parents have become hyper-vigilant and everyone is making parents feel guilty about everything they do. And yet every so often something like this comes up in the news and you wonder if anyone is paying any attention to child safety at all??

OK parents out there, in case it didn’t occur to you before … kids don’t belong alone in cars with the engine running!!!!! Power windows are only one danger … there’s also the possibility they could put the car in gear and drive into another car, or a building or … it doesn’t bear thinking about. Before we rush to blame the car manufacturer, let’s exercise some basic common sense.


5 thoughts on “Tragic … but Stupid

  1. You have expressed my thoughts on this whole incident concisely!!! I too was very frsutrated and angry when I read this. It seems like common sense was lost completely here. I mean, I won’t leave my kids in the car (not running) in the garage for more than a few seconds… I don’t leave the keys in the ignition at all unless I am sitting in car. I won’t leave my kids and run into stores even when I can still see the car.
    This story seems to be an example of what our society tends to do, blame everyone else for our own problems.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Trudy! I hope and pray that something is learned from this tragedy, but my gut tells me that considering how the media is reacting, there won’t be anything truly learned from it.

  2. I’m with you. My first response was, “What? She left the engine running?” I won’t leave my children in the car at all at a public place, but I would never consider it anywhere with the engine running.

    Then I got to the part about the 6-year-old falling asleep, and my jaw dropped.

    Yikes. Very sad, and I feel sorry for that poor mother. But this happened because she failed to take common, reasonable precautions.

  3. I think there are holes in this story. Parts are missing that we don’t want to hear. Why was it the six-year-old who unbuckled the toddler? Most toddlers I have known have been very adept at that. She was on her way to school…at 9 am? The six-year-old fell asleep with a restless toddler in the car? She didn’t notice the child was unresponsive when she buckled her in (the second time)?? very odd..Sharon

  4. Yeah … I agree Sharon, there are a lot of holes in the story. Another one is that someone in the parking lot allegedly heard the child crying out, freed her from the window and then went off to call 911 without checking to see how she was … then the mother came back and drove away? How did the mother even know the child had been caught in the window? There’s a lot that doesn’t add up.

    Now that my kids are older (6 and 9 at the moment) I will sometimes leave them alone in the car while running a quick errand, especially if it’s in a place where I can still see the car — but the thought of leaving the car running horrifies me!!

  5. My mom used to leave my sister and me in the car while she ran in for groceries (we would have been about 6 and 3). I can’t remember if she left it running or not – but I do know I used to have recurring nightmares in which the car would start moving and I’ve have to figure out how to drive/stop it.

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