— This editorial ran last month and I am only just getting around to writing about it, in part because just reading it again makes my muscles clench. The tone of the piece is so officious, so smug, and so cruel, I’d be tempted to lock its writer in a van for far longer than the six minutes this mom left her child. Here’s a sampling:
A Calgary mom has no doubt learned her lesson. The woman recently left her four-year-old son in her unlocked, running van while she picked up her daughter at a northeast school.
The mother said she was gone about six minutes, and when she came out, someone was stealing her van with her son in it.
Fortunately, the incident ended well, with the child unhurt after the thief crashed the van, and the suspect was taken into custody.
If the mom has “learned her lesson,” why is the paper urging further misery?
…charges of child endangerment need to be pressed to set an example, because no matter how often these types of things occur, other parents continue to leave their kids in similar situations.
Methinks the opposite: Charges need to NOT be pressed, lest other parents feel they can’t leave their kids for even a few minutes while they run an errand. I agree that it doesn’t make sense to keep the keys in the ignition — with or without a kid in the car. In fact, it’s dumb. But the mom didn’t commit a crime. The car thief did. And when the editorial goes on to patronizlingly remind readers:
It takes just a few minutes to get your child out of a vehicle and bring him or her along with you on whatever errand needs running. Sure, it’s more convenient just to leave a child in the car and do the errand, unencumbered. However, child safety should trump inconvenience every time.
If child safety trumps everything, how does the editorial writer square with the fact that more children die being hit by cars in parking lots and driveways than while waiting IN the car? This insistence that convenience is always wrong seems much more concerned with making parents “prove” they are bending over backwards for their kids, than with actually keeping kids safe.
Better a few extra minutes lost bundling a little one in and out of a vehicle than a lifetime of regret and what-ifs.
THIS! This sentiment that is the poison we are fed every day disguised as a “helpful tip.” START IMAGINING A LIFETIME OF REGRET. Every parent is exhorted to hallucinate the most horrific, tragic, unlikely outcome of the most average, everyday, safe activity before deciding how to act. Of course, once you have imagined the “lifetime of regret,” NOTHING seems safe enough other than grafting your child to your side.
That is why parents today feel so drained and worried. Either they are doing it “right” — hyperventilating about almost infinitesimal dangers. Or they are doing it “wrong,” by gauging the actual odds and even factoring in their own convenience. Tsk tsk. – L