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#1 of 145 Old 09-06-2007, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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they accidentally leave their child in a hot car and the child dies?
The issue has been all over the news today with the mother (who was an assistant principal) who accidentally left her toddler in the car and attended faculty meetings for her job. The toddler died.

Several years ago, a man that I didn't really know but knew of through the church, returned from a mission trip with jet lag and left his three year old daughter in the car. She died. This was in Virginia and the last I heard he was charged with child neglect. I do not know what ultimately happened.

I have also heard of people who knowingly left their children in the car (who later have died) because they didn't have anyone to watch them. This, to me, is a different story.

What are your thoughts?
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#2 of 145 Old 09-06-2007, 08:10 PM
 
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i think to me you already showed the difference... someone who KNOWINGLY leaves a child in the car (recently locally we had someone leave 2 kids in the car to tanning : ) as well as a mother who took a different way to work and forgot to drop off her 5 month old at day care.

If i remember correctly, the kids from the woman who ran into tan were ok and they charged that woman for endangerment... but the daycare baby died :cry The DA decided not to proscuate the mother who's 5 month old baby, as he felt she already recievied enough punishment with the loss of her child.

I think it takes looking into what happened, why it happened... not just if it happened - KWIM?

I think it would be wise if car makers could make some sort of alarm that could go off if a seat belt was left clipped after a set amount of time (or something simuliar).

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#3 of 145 Old 09-06-2007, 08:17 PM
 
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I don't think they should be charged if it is truly clear it was an accident. I think they should seek a ton of counseling, and time management support.

There is a case in my area right now where they are pressing neglect charges because the mom spent the entire drive gabbing on her cell phone, and the DA is saying she could have been less distracted except she chose to make social phone calls for 25 minutes as she drove...

...if I were on that jury, I don't think I could find her guilty, though.
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#4 of 145 Old 09-06-2007, 08:22 PM
 
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It's such a terrible thing -- I can't imagine the torture and anguish that parents who do that on accident experience -- the sickening realization that they forgot their child in the car, the desperate race to see if the child is okay, then the dread and despair when they realize that the child succumbed to the heat. As awful as it is, and as much as I've heard people say, "How could they just *forget* about their child??", I do believe that such a situation can happen to otherwise responsible, loving, well-meaning parents, and of course the pain of losing their child far outweighs any punishment the state can dole out.

However, involuntary manslaughter laws exist for a reason -- not all deaths are intentional acts, but it doesn't absolve them from the label of "crime."

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#5 of 145 Old 09-06-2007, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by KJoslyn78 View Post

I think it would be wise if car makers could make some sort of alarm that could go off if a seat belt was left clipped after a set amount of time (or something simuliar).
NASA actually created just such a device...however, because of the cost, it hasn't been mandated. It's some kind of alarm that goes off if you take the key out of the ignition and there is an amount of weight still in the back seat. I am always willing to pay for technology if it means saving a life--like the alarms/sounds that go off if you are backing up and there is an object behind you.
When my guys were little, I used to move a toy bear (one for each child) from their seats to the front seat and then return them each time they were out of the seat--as a visual reminder. A sign or something else that you physically move each time (as long as you make yourself do it) is really helpful. It may seem like a hassle, but I'm all for it if it saves a life.
I think this kind of thing can happen more readily for those who don't always have their children with them. In other words, as a sahm, I ALWAYS have the kids with me, and it is rare when I go anywhere without them--and during those times that I am alone, I find that I check the seats for them anyway--as well as the rear view mirror. If it were the reverse I am not sure I would think to look behind me as often as I do now.
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#6 of 145 Old 09-06-2007, 09:43 PM
 
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That's a hard question. You shouldn't ever leave your kids in the car (how often do we have the intention of running in for a quick sec, and lose track and emerge from the store 40 minutes later??).

I think there are situations where people truly forget; and those occurrences seem to be growing in number. It's my opinion that we as human beings are running ourselves to a "burnt out" state. The one-parent at home situation hardly exists anymore, and people have alot of extra daily life stuff on their plates, alot more stress; and alot less nutrition. Add it all up, and forgetting your child is asleep in his carseat behind you becomes such a simple thing to do. I can't imagine charging someone who's dealing with the grief of losing their child and it being their fault in this situation.

If the type of situation where they're leaving the kid in the car to go tanning....that's despicable and irresponsable. IMO, it should have a manslaughter charge.

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#7 of 145 Old 09-06-2007, 09:56 PM
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If investigation reveals it was a true accident and the parents are remorseful and grieving, no, I don't think charges should be filed.

If, however, the child was left by say, a DCP, even if it was an accident, charges should absolutely be filed.
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#8 of 145 Old 09-06-2007, 10:59 PM
 
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If they purposely left their child in a car, yes. Does not matter what the "reason" is, it is no excuse.

If they "forgot" (I don't see how that can happen but I can imagine it does) then you will have to treat that case by case.

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#9 of 145 Old 09-06-2007, 11:14 PM
 
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what about the man that left his kid in the car...to run into the brothel?

or the ones that locked the baby in the car for over eight hours...to go hunt shrooms?

i think it depends on the reason...and what was going through the person's mind. were they completely exhausted? was there some post partum depression going on? did they think their SO had taken the child?

nothing is sadder than the death of a child. in many ways, it's the ultimate punishment.
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#10 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 12:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by GranoLLLy-girl View Post
they accidentally leave their child in a hot car and the child dies?
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.
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#11 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 01:18 AM
 
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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.

:

This is what I was thinking, but worded much more eloquently.

If a parent is neglectful and a child is injured or killed the parent should be held accountable. End of story.

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#12 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 06:22 AM
 
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Yes, definitely.
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#13 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 06:46 AM
 
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If a parent is neglectful and a child is injured or killed the parent should be held accountable. End of story.

Well I think most people would agree with that but how do you draw the line between what is neglect and what is an accident? Sometimes it's really not clear.
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#14 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 06:59 AM
 
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Well I think most people would agree with that but how do you draw the line between what is neglect and what is an accident? Sometimes it's really not clear.
Which is the whole point of a trial by a jury of one's peers, surely?

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#15 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 10:22 AM
 
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Hmm...I guess what I keep thinking about this "accident" vs. "intentional" things is that generally people will lie to get out of trouble. "What officer? Oh, yes I accidentally FORGOT my kid in the car." : Really, or did you just not have a babysitter, or you were tired of hearing the kid crying, or you decided you didn't like being a parent, or it was more important for you to tan than make sure your kids were safe? I am not saying that sometimes it isn't accidental. I am sure it is. But, if we start making a lawful distinction between the two, then people who intentionally abandon their children for hours will just lie and say it was an accident so they don't get jail time.

Here is my very harsh view on this topic. If you are so darn forgetful that you leave your precious baby in a boiling hot car to die the slow agonizing death of dehydration, heat stroke, hallucinations, rapid rise in blood pressure, severe headache, and death because literally their little innocent brains cook : then I don't want you running around the streets. What else might you forget? This is a real hot button issue for me. I am so sick of seeing these parents on the news blubbering and saying "Oh, I just forgot little Timmy in the car for 12 hours while I went to work. Haven't I suffered enough?" Umm...no, you haven't. What about how much your innocent baby suffered. The fact that we have become a society that is so callus that we could FORGET so completely about our children that it causes their deaths is very disturbing and sickening to me.

Okay, stepping down off my soap box. Sorry to go off on a tangent about this, but it just caught me at the wrong time.
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#16 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 10:28 AM
 
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Which is the whole point of a trial by a jury of one's peers, surely?
So any time a child dies while in the care of his parents the parents should be charged with a crime and let a trial by jury work it out?
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#17 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 10:29 AM
 
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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.
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#18 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 10:41 AM
 
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Yes, definitely.

Let's say a man is driving and accidentally hits someone with his car. The man will be charged, even if he didn't kill the person on purpose. The same applies to when someone accidentally shoots another person. The laws don't say 'It applies to everybody except for those who've killed a relative.'

The same should apply when it comes to leaving a child locked into a car unattended. No law takes into account whether the person you accidentally killed was a relative of yours or not, why should this be an exception?

I'm sure the parent who does this feels terribly remorseful afterwards. I know the hectic way of life many people have to endure leads to forgetting important things all the time. But remorse shouldn't matter when it comes to apply the law. Or else everybody will start claiming they did things on accident so they can get out of the charges.
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#19 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 10:43 AM
 
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IN regards to this woman in Ohio, I think she should be charged with manslaughter and do time. I don't think in all cases, but in this one absolutely. Here's why:
The day before her daughter died in the car, she had the police called on her for doing the SAME THING! She had left her daughter in the car while she ran in somewhere, and it was on record that she had a history of doing this. This baby was only 5 months old, and she had left her in the car only the day before. Don't tell me she forgot, when she had a run in with the police less than 24 hours before her daughter died.
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#20 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 10:44 AM
 
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Yes, definitely.

Let's say a man is driving and accidentally hits someone with his car. The man will be charged, even if he didn't kill the person on purpose. The same applies to when someone accidentally shoots another person. The laws don't say 'It applies to everybody except for those who've killed a relative.'
There are unfortunately lots of cases where a parent backed over his or her own child. Are all those parents charged with a crime (i'm asking this seriously as I don't know but I would have thought not). Is every parent whose child drowned while under his or her care charged with a crime first and questions are sorted out later?
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#21 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 10:49 AM
 
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Ok I have 3 boys and worked full time with the first 2. I can ABSOLUTELY say I have never ever forgot one of my children. I have a hard time with what type of parent FORGETS a child sleeping or not. Thats just my opinion. Yes she should be charged with something. Neglect maybe she failed to keep her child alive with is the primary goal of parenting.

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#22 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 10:53 AM
 
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If the child drowns because of inadequate supervision, the parents can definitely be charged with a crime. The prosecuting attorney has the discretion to make that call.

Legally speaking, to be charged with an intentional crime you must be able to foresee the consequences of the act. If you leave your child in a car and go inside an office building, a reasonable person should be able to foresee that something really, really bad can happen. If you toss your child into a tank with electric eels, you should be able to foresee that something bad will happen. If you let your child jump off the roof as an experiment, again, there is a forseeable consequence.

To be charged with criminal negligence, it must be proven that the supervising adult could have prevented the occurance by taking reasonable precautions, ie, by doing what a reasonable person would do; and I'm sorry, but reasonable people do NOT leave children in cars for any amount of time while unsupervised.

If you're walking down the block and a tree limb falls on your child, that was neither forseeable nor preventable; thus, an accident.
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#23 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 11:52 AM
 
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Originally Posted by limabean View Post
It's such a terrible thing -- I can't imagine the torture and anguish that parents who do that on accident experience -- the sickening realization that they forgot their child in the car, the desperate race to see if the child is okay, then the dread and despair when they realize that the child succumbed to the heat. As awful as it is, and as much as I've heard people say, "How could they just *forget* about their child??", I do believe that such a situation can happen to otherwise responsible, loving, well-meaning parents, and of course the pain of losing their child far outweighs any punishment the state can dole out.

However, involuntary manslaughter laws exist for a reason -- not all deaths are intentional acts, but it doesn't absolve them from the label of "crime."
I have not read all the responses yet because I agree with Limabean!!!!!
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#24 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 12:32 PM
 
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If investigation reveals it was a true accident and the parents are remorseful and grieving, no, I don't think charges should be filed.

If, however, the child was left by say, a DCP, even if it was an accident, charges should absolutely be filed.
ITA

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#25 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 12:34 PM
 
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well, if someone else leaves your child in a car and child dies- should THEY be charged with a crime?

I think it's sad and awful and the parent will be suffering for a lifetime from an "accident" but it should still be brought to the courts.
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#26 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 12:39 PM
 
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Accidents happen, but if you accidentally leave your child locked in a hot car, or leave bleach where your toddler can drink it, or leave your gun where they can reach it, yes, you are negligent as a parent, and frankly if I ever did one of those BIG accidents I think it would help me process my guilt if I actually was held responsible by the law.

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#27 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 12:39 PM
 
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Hmm...I guess what I keep thinking about this "accident" vs. "intentional" things is that generally people will lie to get out of trouble. "What officer? Oh, yes I accidentally FORGOT my kid in the car." : Really, or did you just not have a babysitter, or you were tired of hearing the kid crying, or you decided you didn't like being a parent, or it was more important for you to tan than make sure your kids were safe? I am not saying that sometimes it isn't accidental. I am sure it is. But, if we start making a lawful distinction between the two, then people who intentionally abandon their children for hours will just lie and say it was an accident so they don't get jail time.

Here is my very harsh view on this topic. If you are so darn forgetful that you leave your precious baby in a boiling hot car to die the slow agonizing death of dehydration, heat stroke, hallucinations, rapid rise in blood pressure, severe headache, and death because literally their little innocent brains cook : then I don't want you running around the streets. What else might you forget? This is a real hot button issue for me. I am so sick of seeing these parents on the news blubbering and saying "Oh, I just forgot little Timmy in the car for 12 hours while I went to work. Haven't I suffered enough?" Umm...no, you haven't. What about how much your innocent baby suffered. The fact that we have become a society that is so callus that we could FORGET so completely about our children that it causes their deaths is very disturbing and sickening to me.

Okay, stepping down off my soap box. Sorry to go off on a tangent about this, but it just caught me at the wrong time.
: and to that whole post. I've been thinking about this since I read the op last night, trying to find compassion and a way of understanding HOW IN THE WORLD someone could just forget thier kid in the car for more than say, 30 seconds. I so get the sleep deprivation and exhaustion of parenthood. The stress of being a SAH parent or a WOH parent-I've done both. I get that we all forget things from time to time. But to forget your baby. Your child. When you can remember to grab your cell phone and ipod before heading into work or the mall or wherever...I don't get that. Not at all.

And yeah. What's to stop those parents who intentionally leave thier kids from lying? You can't make a distinction like that when it comes to crimes. Somehow "Gee, I didn't mean to rob that bank, it was an accident. I forgot that note and gun were in my hands" just wouldn't fly.

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#28 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 12:54 PM
 
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There are unfortunately lots of cases where a parent backed over his or her own child. Are all those parents charged with a crime (i'm asking this seriously as I don't know but I would have thought not). Is every parent whose child drowned while under his or her care charged with a crime first and questions are sorted out later?
Yes!!! I guy I went to school with I think it was 3 yrs ago he accidentally backed over his 13 month old...he was charged with manslaughter.

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#29 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 01:20 PM
 
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Here is my very harsh view on this topic. If you are so darn forgetful that you leave your precious baby in a boiling hot car to die the slow agonizing death of dehydration, heat stroke, hallucinations, rapid rise in blood pressure, severe headache, and death because literally their little innocent brains cook then I don't want you running around the streets. What else might you forget? This is a real hot button issue for me. I am so sick of seeing these parents on the news blubbering and saying "Oh, I just forgot little Timmy in the car for 12 hours while I went to work. Haven't I suffered enough?" Umm...no, you haven't. What about how much your innocent baby suffered. The fact that we have become a society that is so callus that we could FORGET so completely about our children that it causes their deaths is very disturbing and sickening to me.
I completely agree with this. Yes parents should be charged. I just cannot understand how you forget your child in the car.
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#30 of 145 Old 09-07-2007, 02:45 PM
 
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Hmm...I guess what I keep thinking about this "accident" vs. "intentional" things is that generally people will lie to get out of trouble. "What officer? Oh, yes I accidentally FORGOT my kid in the car." : Really, or did you just not have a babysitter, or you were tired of hearing the kid crying, or you decided you didn't like being a parent, or it was more important for you to tan than make sure your kids were safe? I am not saying that sometimes it isn't accidental. I am sure it is. But, if we start making a lawful distinction between the two, then people who intentionally abandon their children for hours will just lie and say it was an accident so they don't get jail time.

Here is my very harsh view on this topic. If you are so darn forgetful that you leave your precious baby in a boiling hot car to die the slow agonizing death of dehydration, heat stroke, hallucinations, rapid rise in blood pressure, severe headache, and death because literally their little innocent brains cook : then I don't want you running around the streets. What else might you forget? This is a real hot button issue for me. I am so sick of seeing these parents on the news blubbering and saying "Oh, I just forgot little Timmy in the car for 12 hours while I went to work. Haven't I suffered enough?" Umm...no, you haven't. What about how much your innocent baby suffered. The fact that we have become a society that is so callus that we could FORGET so completely about our children that it causes their deaths is very disturbing and sickening to me.

Okay, stepping down off my soap box. Sorry to go off on a tangent about this, but it just caught me at the wrong time.

You wrote my post for me! I absolutely agree 100%.

Bethany, crunchy Christian mom to Destiny (11) Deanna (9), and Ethan (2)

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