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post #81 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThreeBeans View Post
If, however, the child was left by say, a DCP, even if it was an accident, charges should absolutely be filed.
so, parents can be less vigilant than a DCP? and its ok? I have actually read every reply on this thread... and I am so sorry for the few of you who have actually been affected by accidental deaths. I KNOW accidents happen, but they don't HAVE to happen. That's why they are called accidents. Thats why we as parents, and also members of communities, need to be very very aware of children all the time. They don't know what can kill them. We do.

I always look in carseats when I am in a parking lot. I have never found a child left in one yet, but I might save a life someday. If everyone looked in carseats in parking lots... well, a few more children would be alive.

If parking lots posted signs that said "Please look behind your car before you back out." A few lives may be spared. If that sign was something we read all the time, it would just be ingrained and we would do it automatically. In fact, I think they should start a campaign....


In response to the OP's original question: I DO think parents should be charged with a crime. Maybe not jail time, depending on the situation, but to just completely write off the fact that someone's negligence caused the death of a child, that's not cool.
post #82 of 145
my only thought about charging a DCP but not parents is that other parents looking for daycare deserve to know a DCP history of negligence/accidents.

If I forget my child in the car, it hurts my family and my child. If my care provider forgets my child in the car, it impacts my family, my child, and all the families that were and will be clients of him/her.

I know I look carefully at the DSS licensing website for daycare violations before leaving my son at a center. i would hope that any major accident would be recorded for all families to evaluate.
post #83 of 145
Holy cow! Is this thread still alive?

Has everyone seen the video of the Ohio mom being interrogated by the police? Painful to watch, be forewarned.

http://video.msn.com/v/us/msnbc.htm?...b-678b494acea5
post #84 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by momtosimon View Post
and I am so sorry for the few of you who have actually been affected by accidental deaths. I KNOW accidents happen, but they don't HAVE to happen. That's why they are called accidents. Thats why we as parents, and also members of communities, need to be very very aware of children all the time. They don't know what can kill them. We do.
Well, that's where we disagree. I do believe we should all try to prevent accidents, but I do not agree that they "don't have to happen."

They will happen - do happen every day, in fact, it's just that the vast majority of the time the accident doesn't line up with all the other factors to cause such a catastrophe.

It's great that you check your car, and other people's cars, but I maintain my opinion that rather than pretending that people could prevent everything bad if they only TRIED hard enough, we should be compassionate enough to understand that sometimes bad things happen to good people.

That doesn't mean rolling over and just taking it when people are incompetent, but the original question was about how far do we go to punish people.
post #85 of 145
Sorry, this is a much better piece.

They interview a couple of which the father left the daughter in the car two years ago. Very painful to watch. The father basically cannot talk, isn't able to contribute to the interview, but just sits crumpled, wiping tears off his face. Says in a broken voice that he cannot forgive himself.

Only the warmth and forgiveness of their immediate community allowed them to survive.

They say that before this happened to them, they were THOSE people: people who said this could never happen to them and that they just couldn't understand how any parent could allow this to happen to their child.

http://video.msn.com/v/us/msnbc.htm?...b-678b494acea5

ETA: it doesn't seem to link directly to the story. If you're interested, click on the play next list: Recovering from the loss of a child.
post #86 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
Well, that's where we disagree. I do believe we should all try to prevent accidents, but I do not agree that they "don't have to happen."

They will happen - do happen every day, in fact, it's just that the vast majority of the time the accident doesn't line up with all the other factors to cause such a catastrophe.

It's great that you check your car, and other people's cars, but I maintain my opinion that rather than pretending that people could prevent everything bad if they only TRIED hard enough, we should be compassionate enough to understand that sometimes bad things happen to good people.

That doesn't mean rolling over and just taking it when people are incompetent, but the original question was about how far do we go to punish people.
But see, thats the nature of an accident. Its, if you had done something different... it wouldn't have happened. I agree that they do happen and will continue to happen.... but just by definition, an accident is something you didn't plan on happening, because you didn't check all the variables or maybe, you DO understand the variables, you just don't think the extreme 1 to 5% of something bad happening will include you (like leaving your baby in the tub for just a second) I am not pretending that accidents like this will disappear, but each and every one was "unavoidable" if something had been done differently. Otherwise, it wouldn't be called an accident.

And I am also not saying that we should "judge" people whose accidents result in the death of their child. But we certainly can't pat them on the back and say, "oh, its ok, it was just an accident, you'll try harder next time."
post #87 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by momtosimon View Post
But see, thats the nature of an accident. Its, if you had done something different... it wouldn't have happened. I agree that they do happen and will continue to happen.... but just by definition, an accident is something you didn't plan on happening, because you didn't check all the variables or maybe, you DO understand the variables, you just don't think the extreme 1 to 5% of something bad happening will include you (like leaving your baby in the tub for just a second) I am not pretending that accidents like this will disappear, but each and every one was "unavoidable" if something had been done differently. Otherwise, it wouldn't be called an accident.

And I am also not saying that we should "judge" people whose accidents result in the death of their child. But we certainly can't pat them on the back and say, "oh, its ok, it was just an accident, you'll try harder next time."
Well not to get too picky with you but there are lots of definitions of accident that don't involve foreseeable circumstances.

You seem to think that all the variables can be controlled and again, that's where we disagree. No parent or society can be one hundred percent vigilant all the time - it's not realistic. It also might create a pretty awful society for our kids and families, in the case of something like letting kids explore on their own, etc.

Again I do not think it is normal to leave one's child in the car - but I don't think it's in the realm of say, locking a child in his or her room for three days as punishment - true abuse and neglect. I'm sure there are occasional people who do deliberately do something like that, but I think the vast majority of individuals who make that mistake are simply overscheduled, tired, stressed out people.

I honestly don't see how having compassion for a parent who made a mistake that resulted in the loss of their child would ever be perceived as receiving a "pat on the back."

I think the best response is "How did that happen?" (from the police, not from the community) followed by "how can we help you in your time of loss?"

And again I'm just saddened by this thread, because I really think that in this generation we have lost, again, compassion for the terrifying and humanly flawed act of parenting.

I am probably romanticizing a bit but it seems to me that when I was growing up when children died - which was already much less common than in my grandmother's generation - the first response of people was to feel sad for the family and to hug their own children, not to demand that people pay for what they did or go to jail as an example to others. The loss of the child and the devastating wreckage in that family's life was the example.

I do think this relates to our culture of fear and blame. As long as we can say it's only "those people" over there that make mistakes, we don't have to live with the fear that we could lose our own children. But the fact is that we all make those mistakes every day - a chokable sized knob comes loose; an electrical appliance's cord gets exposed when someone knocks into the end table; we cut someone off on the road because our baby started screaming.

And I guess I just feel that there are compassionate and caring ways to address mistakes that people make without having to treat them like the real criminals, the people who deliberately go out of their way to harm people, or like corporations, who need to be monitored to be sure that they are not making profits at the expense of safety.

A parent who makes a mistake, to me, is just not in the same category.
post #88 of 145
Jenn, I'm so sorry for your loss.

I agree that there's a big difference when you're turning to medical professionals and relying on their expertise to cope with problems in childbirth, or even a childhood illness. They bear a higher degree of responsibility for any serious errors they make.

I realize that some parents who use child care providers, also look up to them and turn to them for advice on certain aspects of child development. Still, I don't see a big difference between a caregiver who makes an error that results in a child being harmed or killed, and a parent who makes the same error.

Both have made a mistake, both are accountable, and both deserve understanding and compassion. Of course, I'm not saying doctors and nurses are beyond compassion, either. Just that they've chosen a profession with a high degree of accountability.

I think you were right in doing everything you could to make sure the same tragedy wasn't repeated in that hospital, rather than focusing on "taking an eye for an eye."

Last night after everyone was asleep, I lay in bed pondering what accountability means to me. When I think about helping my kids learn accountability, I think in terms of helping them empathize with other people and increasing their awareness of how their actions (both positive and negative) affect others.

I started out as a parent who sometimes imposed punishments (other than spanking) to "teach lessons." Now that I've been practicing Gentle Discipline for the past couple of years, I think GD is a better way to encourage children to be accountable for their actions.

I agree with Alfie Kohn that punishment causes the individual to focus on what will happen to her if she does this or that, and to be more concerned about avoiding punishment than about the feelings of others.

I'd rather free my child from the worry of "I'm in trouble," so she can brainstorm ways to restore relationships and mend any damage she's caused, if and when that's possible. Even where restoration is not possible, there's still potential for the wrongdoer to learn from her mistakes and become a better person.

If one of my children someday commits an error that results in death or serious injury to another person -- even if that other person is my grandchild, I'd rather my child have opportunities to learn from her mistake without having to be charged with a crime and possibly spend time in prison.

If my spouse committed such an error and caused the death of one of our children -- well, I can't imagine him doing that, but if he did, I can't imagine how it would help me or our surviving child to lose him to the prison system for a few months or years. It would only add to our devastation, emotionally and financially.

Of course, I realize accountability issues become complicated when you're talking about adults who never got, or learned, empathy during their growing up years, and have become hardened criminals who harm others without feeling any remorse.

At the same time, most people seem to agree that a prison term usually just makes a hardened criminal even harder. Most seem to agree that our criminal justice system has lots of holes, and isn't achieving the rehabilitation we'd like for it to.

The sad thing is, some people haven't learned empathy and are now a danger to themselves and others. And our society doesn't know what to do with them so we lock them up.

But when an individual commits a terrible error, and is full of remorse, I don't think we need to lock her up to protect ourselves and our children. I think a truly remorseful individual is eager to find a way to bring something good out of the pain she's caused. If she could have help forming a constructive plan for restitution, coercion would probably not even be necessary.
post #89 of 145
i'm quitting mdc because mdc is unkind and discriminates against mamas with special needs babies.
post #90 of 145
It's a terrible terrible thing all around.
post #91 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by purposefulmother View Post
But really, for the life of me, I cannot fathom leaving my child in the car by accident. How can you forget your child is in the car?

I have to say, I have accidently left my baby in the car.

I picked my daughter up from school, which was a not normal situation. She was sick. I wanted to stop and grab a gallon of milk, so I quick pulled into the parking lot. I got my daighter out of the car and we walked in. We wandered through the store looking for something she wanted to eat, got on line, paid, and left the store. We were probably in there for about 20 minutes. It was about April, so not to hot, thankfully.

When we got back to the car, she yelled out "Mom!!!! We left Jackson in the car...." I nearly had a breakdown there in the parking lot. He was fine, but the what ifs. My husband had to come get us from the store.

I was in a different situation than my "routine". He was in a rear facing carseat and was asleep, so I didn't hear him or see him. My daughter was sitting in her sisters seat (another deviation from routine) so she didn't look to her left when she jumped out the side door of the van.

I am a good mom. I am very careful with my kids in regards to safety issues, I wasn't on the phone, drinking, eating, whatever. I was taking a sick kid to the store. I just forgot I took the baby too.

It all turned out fine for us, but what if it didn't?? Would me sitting in jail be just punishment?
post #92 of 145
I think people are having a hard time understanding that there is a difference in being charged with a crime, being convicted of a crime, and going to jail.

Has anyone here even said that parents should go to JAIL for this?

I personally agree that they should be charged with a crime. That doesn't mean convicted or jail. That means being charged and letting the judge or jury decide what needs to happen.

If you don't think that a parent should be charged with a crime if they say it is accidental then what should be done?

Scenario....child gets left in hot car. Child Dies. Mom says it was an accident. Case closed.

That is what happens if we don't at least charge someone with a crime and really investigate the facts and what happened. What would prevent every person who did this from saying it was an accident?

People do this on purpose all the time, and I would be willing to wager that many more children have died when the parent KNOWINGLY left them in the car rather than forgetting. A family in my area left 3 kids in the car at the beginning of summer this year while they went shopping at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Someone saw the kids in the car and called 911. The police were waiting for the parents when they came out of the store 40 minutes later with heaping shopping carts. THe youngest kid was around 1.5 and had to be hospitalized for dehydration etc...

The parents were arrested. People do this on purpose so they can go shopping, go get drunk or high etc.

Because of people like that we have to charge anyone who leaves their child in a hot car for so long that they die.
Because it is more common that the parent KNEW the child was in the car.

And I don;t think that this could never happen to me. It just never has...and if it did, I would expect to be charged with a crime while things were sorted out.
post #93 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolalola View Post
Ok, fine. I'll say it. Yes.

The primary responsiblility of any parent is to keep your child(ren) alive.

If your life is such (enter any reasoning you wish) that you cannot be mindful enough to remember that the child you put in the car, has not been taken out of the car...perhaps you need some childcare assistance.
Criminal charges are not childcare assistance though.

I think the decision to file charges or not can only be made on a case by case basis. Sometimes the situation would warrant it, sometimes not. I'm not exactly sure I follow the reasoning that a DCP should always be criminally charged, but the parents given wiggle room, for the same offense. Is the thinking that the role of DCP makes it _not_ the same offense?
post #94 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by mother_star View Post
I did not read all the replys to this thread.

How the heck does one "forget" that their child is in the car???? How CAN it be an accident to leave your child in the car?

In my opinion, if the parent leaves the child in the car and the child dies, yes they should be charged. No if's but's and and's about it.
This is exactly what I have been thinking since I saw the story and since i tried reading the posts in this thread. I can't believe it took so long for someone to say this. I just don't get HOW you could forget???? I mean come on, this is not your groceries or the dry cleaning ...this is your child...you flesh in blood, a person! I am so boggled by the whole thing.
I just keep wondering how she never thought about her child all day, I mean at some point doesn't your DC pop into your head and make you think.."hey did I drop her off at daycare?"
Danni
post #95 of 145
Humans are hard-wired to form habits and take mental shortcuts. Routines are important to our survival, and when routines get altered bad things can happen. I have never forgotten my child in my car or elsewhere yet, but I have forgotten things that, in retrospect, I ask myself how the hell could I have forgotten THAT??

It's horrible when the consequences for such a minor transgression (forgetting something) are so serious (losing a child). Really bad things do happen. Filing criminal charges every time they happen will not eliminate the problem. I really doubt that it would serve as a deterrent. How can you deter something that occurs precisely because of the lack of a conscious thought process? Deterrence requires one to consider doing something, realize the likely consequence, and change one's mind about doing that something.
post #96 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by purposefulmother View Post
The law allows for cases of criminal negligence. Leaving your child in the car because you forgot would definitely fall under that umbrella in most cases. A higher charge, manslaughter maybe, would be more appropriate for a parent who leaves a child in the car knowingly.

But really, for the life of me, I cannot fathom leaving my child in the car by accident. How can you forget your child is in the car?

I absolutely think parents should be held liable if their child dies because of neglect like this. It's not an "accident." The child didn't wander into the car and lock himself in. The parent was fully responsbile for putting said child into the car and then leaving the child there.

A PP wrote that parent's first responsibility is to keep the children alive. ITA.
I was about to write a long response to this question, but this poster said exactly what I was thinking. So :
post #97 of 145
I'm going to come clean here and tell you I forgot my DD in the car one day. I used to be like the people here, thinking, how the heck could you be so dense as to leave your kid in the car? How do you forget that? It comes down to routine and change, I think. I was going to the Dr's. DD wasn't going to come, DH was home so I could alone. She had a 2 year old fit, so I took her. She fell asleep halfway there. I parked, got out of the car, and went inside. I signed in, waited 3 or 4 minutes, and was shown to an exam room. I sat there for about 3 more minutes, thinking how tired I was and just wanted to sleep...sleep....SLEEP!!!!!! That was when I remembered DD asleep in the car and I RAN out of there and straight to her, where she was, still, fast asleep, unaware of what had happened. It was not a very hot day, thank goodness, and I remembered within about 10 minutes. I felt awful, I wanted to cry. I couldn't believe that happened to ME, ME!!!! I cosleep, ebf, babywear, homeschool, am a huge safey advocate....it just didn't fit. It shouldn't have happened. But you know what? It did. And I really feel for those parents whose situations had dire outcomes for their children. I can't even imagine the guilt they walk around with every day. To judge someone in a place you have never been...you just can't.

What is really needed is some sort of alert system to remind parents the child is in the car, and a few actually do exist in the market already. Not criminal charges. Not for real accidents. (However, if you leave your kid in the car for hour so you can shop or something, that's totally different).
post #98 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by dubfam View Post

And I don;t think that this could never happen to me. It just never has...and if it did, I would expect to be charged with a crime while things were sorted out.

Well, maybe this is a cultural thing. In my country, Canada, police investigate BEFORE they lay charges. They continue the investigation afterwards, depending, but that's how it works here.
post #99 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessed View Post
Holy cow! Is this thread still alive?

Has everyone seen the video of the Ohio mom being interrogated by the police? Painful to watch, be forewarned.

http://video.msn.com/v/us/msnbc.htm?...b-678b494acea5
That was so heartbreaking. I did think it was strange, though, that she never actually mentioned the baby. But perhaps they just edited all that out. Or maybe it was too hard for her to talk about what was lost.
post #100 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
Well, maybe this is a cultural thing. In my country, Canada, police investigate BEFORE they lay charges. They continue the investigation afterwards, depending, but that's how it works here.
This makes more sense to me. Especially since, in the U.S., when a parent's under investigation for murder or manslaughter of one child, I think any other children are automatically taken and placed in foster care.

And, once this happens, sometimes the children not immediately returned even AFTER criminal charges have been dropped. Those poor children can end up being separated from their parents for a really long time -- so it makes sense not to just immediately charge anyone with a crime.
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