Thank goodness for technology, that’s all I can say….no, it’s not all I can say after all. The Associated Press reports that the number of children left to die in hot cars during the summer is rising. Research shows that July is the month when most are “forgotten” by their parents to die a slow, horrible death in the back seat of cars.
Now, in addition to your cell phone, BlackBerry, iPod, iPhone, GPS device, Bluetooth and mini-tape recorder, you can buy a “ChildMinder.” The device, costing about $60.00, consists of a sensor pad placed under the cushion of a car seat, and is wirelessly linked to an alarm on the parent’s key chain. If the adult walks more than a few feet away from the car with the child still in the seat, the alarm will sound. Wow! What a great way to help a parent remember that they have a small human being with them!
In the past 10 years, almost 350 children have died in cars, because the parents or other caretakers simply forgot them. Only about 7% of these sad deaths involved drugs or alcohol on the part of the adult. Most cases involved dentists, nurses, ministers, college professors, concert musicians, social services board members, NASA engineers…you know, the pillars of the community. These are the busy, self-involved folks always in a rush, for whom even dropping kids off at a day-care center instead of tending to the little ones themselves was too difficult an assignment.
Astonishingly, these parents, when prosecuted at all (and only 50% of them are prosecuted), receive only three to five year prison sentences. Also astonishing is how much “understanding” public support they get from those who say “It can happen to anyone.” No, it can’t happen to anyone.
It can happen only when parenting and family are not the highest priorities. It can happen only when parents spend their time focused on maximizing their own personal fulfillment at the expense – and very existence – of their children.