6yo Takes the Wheel
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  1. #1
    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Default 6yo Takes the Wheel

    http://www.nugget.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3244368

    Why you shouldn't leave your 6 year old and 18 month old, unattended in a vehicle with the engine running:

    An off duty police officer dropped his child at daycare this morning.

    As he came out of the daycare building, into the parking lot, he saw a mini-van rolling toward his car with a 6 year old at the wheel. He immediately ran over and jammed it in park before it hit his own car.

    The 6 year old had climbed into the front seat and managed to reach the brake and pull the column shift into drive.

    There was an 18-month-old baby in the back in a car seat. The officer waited for mom, the owner of the mini-van, and gave her the appropriate advice and caution before sending her on her way.

    Thankfully the little guy didn't hit the gas or who knows what could have happened.
    What specifically caught my attention about this was that some of the readers were commenting that CAS (I'm guessing like Child Protective Services?) should have been called, or that the police officer should have arrested the woman for child endangerment, et cetera.

    So debate questions:
    1. Specifically in regards to this case and cases like it, do you think that leaving your kids in the car and your car running while you run in somewhere should be considered "child endangerment" or is otherwise "dangerous."
    2. More in general - do you think that society is too quick to blame parents for simple, unforseen accidents, or do you think that it's justified to hold parents accountable for anything that may befall their children?

    As I told the poster who brought this article to my attention, there is nothing like a good old fashioned kids-left-in-the-car debate to get the blood pumping. LOL!
    -Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)

    Got an opinion? We've got a board! Come join us for some lively debate on the Face Off! Debate Arena board.

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    Someone sent you the debate and didn't post it themselves? How odd.

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    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    It's okay - I am always happy to pull the pin on a grenade if a poster is worried about it.
    -Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)

    Got an opinion? We've got a board! Come join us for some lively debate on the Face Off! Debate Arena board.

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    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    Sure there is a risk to it, i don't think some government service needs to get involved. I think what the police man did was just fine.

    I think people need to quit with this idea that its everyone elses responsiblity to protect parents and their kids from their own choices. I get we don't want anything to happen to children, but people just need to back off and accept that they can't control every single thing a parent does!

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    Posting Addict RebeccaA'07's Avatar
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    She shouldn't have left her children unattended in the car because the situation could have been much worse had the child hit the gas pedal. I don't think that CPS should be involved, it was a bad choice of the parent and the officer handled it. I would expect him to make the call if he though the children were in further danger, obviously that was not the case.

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    Posting Addict zefroim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KimPossible View Post
    Sure there is a risk to it, i don't think some government service needs to get involved. I think what the police man did was just fine.

    I think people need to quit with this idea that its everyone elses responsiblity to protect parents and their kids from their own choices. I get we don't want anything to happen to children, but people just need to back off and accept that they can't control every single thing a parent does!

    This is how I feel.
    ~Sara~




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    Prolific Poster ftmom's Avatar
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    Am I the only one who was more concerned about the door being unlocked then the kids left in the car running? I would never leave my door unlocked with my kids in the car, especially if it was running. I have a fear that someone will try to steal my car and take the kids by accident.

    Anyways, this happened to our neighbors when we were little. The car was parked in the driveway, rolled away from the house across the street and hit a car I think. Anyways, the little boy ended up with a broken arm. Pretty scary for all involved, but an accident. I think it was handled well.
    Kyla
    Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)

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    Community Host wlillie's Avatar
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    1. Specifically in regards to this case and cases like it, do you think that leaving your kids in the car and your car running while you run in somewhere should be considered "child endangerment" or is otherwise "dangerous."

    It is definitely dangerous. I don't think it's child endangerment usually, but if the six year old was able to get into the front seat and play with the wheel, then I think it was. Can you imagine if another child was behind the van when it rolled? I have no problem admitting that when we forget something necessary for a trip and he's already loaded into his seat that I'll run back in the house (literally the only place I'd do this), but would never *ever* leave him in there under the age of like 13ish after he knows how to get himself out and touch buttons. And I take the keys with me. I just can't imagine trusting a 6 year old (even a well-behaved one) in a vehicle that is running.

    2. More in general - do you think that society is too quick to blame parents for simple, unforseen accidents, or do you think that it's justified to hold parents accountable for anything that may befall their children?

    Not for just anything, but things that are easily preventable. There are so many safety issues in our everyday life that there is literally no way to cover all of them. You are going to miss something. I just realized Jason's carseat shouldn't be installed with the latch in the middle of my Honda Fit. Now that I know, it's my responsibility to fix it. When you have the information (leaving your kids in the car) and ignore it is when I have an issue or when common sense is trumped by a parent's want.

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    1. Specifically in regards to this case and cases like it, do you think that leaving your kids in the car and your car running while you run in somewhere should be considered "child endangerment" or is otherwise "dangerous."

    I know I am one of the odd men out in this debate....but as long as the parent is acting within the law in their state, I have no idea how this could be endangerment. As to how dangerous it is? I leave that up to each parent to determine for themselves, within the context of the law. I do it. I do it often enough to admit that it isn't a freak occasion sort of thing. I have no problem running into a cash machine where my car is within view with my three kids buckled into their 5 point harnesses (which at 4. 3 and 1 they can't unbuckle). I'm sure some others view this as jaw droppingly dangerous, and that is fine. There are specific circumstances where I feel certain that to leave them safely buckled and locked and within view is safer than trotting all three out in a busy parking area. I have also left my car running for those 30 or 60 seconds but only if it is extremely hot or extremely cold. In such a case, my car is locked and remotely started, which disables the car from being put into gear, as the keys are in my hand and not in the ignition. Were a child of mine to miraculously escape from their car seat, they could not engage the gear or move the car forward or backward.

    2. More in general - do you think that society is too quick to blame parents for simple, unforseen accidents, or do you think that it's justified to hold parents accountable for anything that may befall their children?

    I think that "society" who may be "blaming" in this case is a very specific set. I highly doubt that many parents who are hooked on drugs or who have hungry kids or who are living on the streets are overly worried about a parent leaving a child in a car for a second unsupervised. I think that the real irony is that kids are starving to death and enduring all sorts of abuse and whatnot and the agencies charged with investigating and/or protecting these children are overburdened and underfunded. We (collectively) like to feel outraged when stories like this make news, because they allow us to feel "better than". I think that we as a society ought to put more focus on helping those kids and parents in acute situations on a daily basis rather than worrying about these occasional cases where no one was even injured. I think that these cases are sensationalized because we don't want to look at and/or solve the real causes of child abuse or neglect so it is easier to villanize some parent who "should have known better!". I tend to believe that parents who are actually working hard to do their best to ensure the safety and well being of their children rarely are unjustly held "accountable" for these sorts of accidents, which is how it ought to be. I think that the police officer was probably a good judge of the situation as they witnessed it first hand, so I trust that he/she made the right decision in this instance.

  10. #10
    Posting Addict Starryblue702's Avatar
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    I will admit that I've left my kids in the car with the engine running, but only since my son turned eight years old and I felt he understood what I was asking of him. I have him lock the doors behind me and he knows not to unlock them for any reason (not to mention that he would NEVER climb into the driver's seat and try to do anything). My other two children are in car seats and cannot get out of them without me unlocking the latches. And I ONLY do this if I'm running into a 7-11 or another convenience store and I can directly see the car from where I am. I would never go into a bank, grocery store, or anywhere that wouldn't take me more than 2 minutes and I didn't have to tak my eyes off of the car. Again, this is just me, and agree with it or not, my children have never been in any danger because of it.

    Now that being said, leaving children unattended in cars with the engines off is a huge problem here in Las Vegas and has been for some time now... mostly because of how unbearably hot it gets here. Temps can reach up to 115, and it's about 20 degrees hotter inside of a car. Tests have shown that these temps can be reached just eight minutes after the car has been turned off. I'll never understand how someone can "forget" their child in a car... EVER. I have three children (and another on the way) and I have NEVER forgotten one of my children in the car, whether I was out somewhere or just gotten home. I find it impossible to not know where your children are. And I think a lot of times, it's done on purpose. There was a case here last year where a mother and father "forgot" their 6 year old son in the car in the dead of summer for 16 hours, and by the time they "realized" they had done so he was dead. He had some mental disabilities that were never released by the press, but answered the question as to why he didn't just get out of the car himself, being six years old. They were eventually charged with his murder and both found guilty. In cases like that I think they just didn't want to deal with their special needs child and thought they could just get rid of him in that horrible manner and call it an accident.
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