6 teen weeks and counting

{August 31, 2011}   WWYD (What Would You Do)?

Safety first

A few weekends ago my boys and I were invited to a birthday party my friend was throwing for her soon to be one and two year olds.  We arrived early, the boys and I, so since it was being held at a local park we decided to go check out the playground for a little bit until some people I knew arrived at the party and I didn’t feel so out-of-place.  The park where we were at is a favorite of mine because I can sit on the bench and rest my legs yet still see the boys where ever they play.  As I was sitting on the bench with the massive amounts of kids stuff I was toting I saw a Mom come pedaling up the park with a kiddie trailing in tow sans helmet.  “Ok” I thought to myself, “she’s an adult and if she wants to risk her life, than so be it”.  But as she finds a place to park her bike and let her kids out to play, I notice her KIDS weren’t wearing helmets either.  I was secretly outraged.  How could a mother risk her kids life like that?  Isn’t our responsibility as parents to ensure that our kids are safe?  I wanted to scream at her for being so careless.

At what point and to what extent do we hold parents accountable for taking unnecessary risks with their children’s lives?  If she were (god forbid) to be in a horrific accident, such as car vs. bike, and these kids were to die or suffer traumatic brain injuries that might have been prevented or at least  less severe if they were wearing helmets, could we (assuming she miraculously lives despite the fact she didn’t have a helmet as well) bring manslaughter charges against her?  Or would suffering the loss of one or both children be enough?

I heard in the news recently of a mother that was facing manslaughter charges because she had been jaywalking with her kids when they were struck by a car and her four-year old died due to his injuries.  When I first heard the story, it was while I was getting ready to go somewhere and my kids were going nuts so I didn’t really hear much of the story other than the charges and why.  So my initial reaction to it was in agreement with the charges.  Make an example of her!  Send the message that it’s not okay to “gamble” with our kids lives to save time (or possibly in bicycle Mom’s case, one less piece of equipment to worry about).  But when I sat down and watched her interview on the Today show (on this link), I really felt for her.  While I still think it was incredibly stupid of her to jaywalk with her kids across four lanes of busy traffic, I think that the price she payed (little A.J.’s life) is punishment enough.  It’s a lifetime sentence.

Maybe we should speak up when we see these kinds of things happen, BEFORE these parents face a lifetime sentence of missed birthdays and milestones.  Maybe we should keep our nose out of others business.  I really don’t have a right answer.  I do know that these parents intentions were never to place their children in any harm.  They are great parents that have made horrible mistakes.  Call it lack of sleep and lost brain cells or being clouded by little one’s screams of not wanting to wear something uncomfortable.  Who knows what they were thinking, but at least we can learn from it and protect our children from becoming another statistic.  Like the popular T.V. show asks; What would you do?


AlannBanann says:

I’m not a parent, but I do have siblings and if something happened to any of them because we decided not to take those small but important precautions I would be heartbroken. I think sometimes the seemingly insignificant details are left out because it may be natural for people to anticipate the good things and block out the bad, if that makes sense. But still, it’s no excuse if a terrible accident happened right?

I may not be a parent, but it sure is refreshing to read that there are genuinely concerned parents out there. I’ve read and heard of so many neglectful parents who took risks and have, in turn, have had their children unintentionally hurt or killed from their own actions.
Personally, I haven’t put much thought into this problem. Probably because I’m not quite ready to take on that motherly role. However, your post has gotten me thinking, and to see that there are things one may not put much thought into that can lead to devastating outcomes.
When I was a child I definitely hated wearing helmets while biking or rollerblading, and tried to always get out of it somehow. But when I have children of my own, they surely won’t be getting away with the same thing….

Yare says:

I’m not a parent but I do have many little ones around me all the time, and if something ever happened to them that I could of preveneted I would feel very guilty. I get upset aswell when I see a parent that doesn’t make their kid wear a helmet or makes a daring choice. I guess its the stress and hectic life that takes over some parents and it doesn’t allow them to think clearly. I really don’t know but all I can say is that with my family safety will be first no matter what

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