by Todd Richissin
When Patch ran a story several days ago about a 9-month-old baby who died after his father apparently forgot him in his pickup truck in hot weather, the comments came in quickly — more than 200 of them.
The story quoted Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story attempting to answer how parents can forget their own children in cars.
“What kind of person forgets a baby?,” Weingarten asked in his 2009 piece. “The wealthy do, it turns out. And the poor, and the middle class. Parents of all ages and ethnicities do it. Mothers are just as likely to do it as fathers. It happens to the chronically absent-minded and to the fanatically organized, to the college-educated and to the marginally literate. In the last 10 years, it has happened to a dentist. A postal clerk. A social worker. A police officer. … A Protestant clergyman. … An assistant principal. It happened to a mental health counselor, a college professor and a pizza chef. It happened to a pediatrician. It happened to a rocket scientist.”
Still, many commenters blamed not only inattentive parents, but tasks and society at large for its self-imposed distractions. Others were more understanding.
Below is a sampling of the comments. And here’s another chance to tell us what you think: What’s the best way to reduce the number of children who die from being left in hot vehicles? Tell us in the Comments section below. (And see this story for recommendations on how to prevent this from happening to you and your child.)
Arnold Rothenbuescher: I can see forgetting your wallet or checkbook or even maybe your keys, but.............?
Jamie Edmonds: I'm sure the poor parents listed in this article would have thought that it would never have happened to them either and would have glibly made similar harsh comments about what idiots such parents would have to be . . . . And if you just caused the death of your own precious baby through such tragic inattention--knowing you will have to live with that the rest of your life--do some of you really think a murder charge will bring any sort of justice? I am deeply saddened by the apparent lack of empathy on display here in the comments and I mourn for the babies, the parents, and the hard-hearted commenters here.
Donna Sanders: If you put your phone in the backseat with the child, I am sure you won't forget to take your child with you We don't GO anywhere without our phones, and if we do forget, we go back to get it......wouldn't that work with a child too?
James D. Vragel: Sorry, but I'm not buying the "too busy and forgot" or the "everyone makes mistakes" arguments. The death of children, and pets too, who perish in a hot car is a totally preventable "accident" and guilty party should be charged with homicide, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and forbidden to care for any children or pets.
Carol X: You know, I used to think the same way -- how can you forget your own child? Horrible, inexcusable, criminal. But this happens so much it can't be chalked up to self-absorption or stupidity. Like the article says, it even happened to a pediatrician. I think people sharing the parenting chores, the reliance on day care centers, and parental sleep deprivation combine to make a parent's worst nightmare come true. Most people love their babies. And so I'd advise people not to put their kids in the car at all if they can avoid it. Same goes for pets.
Remember When: Many parents today are juggling too many balls. Eventually, you may drop one. Hang up and focus on job 1, keeping your family alive.