July 31, 2003

Criminal Behavior

Yesterday, a babysitter left one of her charges, an 18-month-old child, strapped in a van parked in the driveway at her home. The precious child cooked to death in temperatures well over 100 degrees. Her father was not notified and so arrived at the house that evening to pick her up - only to have the police break the news to him.

This case is tragic on so many levels and my heart breaks every time I hear about this happening. Yes, I said everytime, because this happens over and over here. In this instance the babysitter apparently forgot about the baby when she took two other children inside. Sometimes, a parent simply decides they will only be in the store (or office or whatever) for a few minutes and it isn't worth the hassle to take their child. This is the epitome of stupidity, even in the dead of winter.

The odds of a child being kidnapped are slim, but even the slightest possibility should be a deterrent. The interior of your car reaching fatal temperatures is a given in this place where temperatures outside of the car are regularly over 100 degrees. These stories are reported often enough that a claim of ignorance doesn't hold.
UPDATE: I just heard that 12 children have been killed this year after being left in hot cars, they didn't have a number for those who were left but recovered. For instnce, a few months back a mother forgot her newborn when she went in for a doctor's appt. She remembered 20 minutes later when the receptionist said, "how's the new baby?". Her car had been in the shade and still the child needed medical care, but survived.

I believe anyone who leaves a living creature (people often do this to pets, as well) to suffer that way should be prosecuted. I am not familiar enough with the statutes to know which can be used in these instances, but I think manslaughter in the least.

I am sure the babysitter who killed her charge yesterday is suffering horribly from guilt - but that doesn't negate the need to punish her for her negligence. So far, no charges have been filed.

Posted by Vox at July 31, 2003 03:43 PM | people