Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pour Your Heart Out: You Left Your Kid WHERE???

There seems to be a major problem going on in America these days. People leaving kids in cars. For HOURS! Seriously. Google it. I mean I put "Child left in car" and came up with millions of pages. These are just the recent headlines: Teacher Arrested for Leaving Child in Car, Woman Jailed After Leaving Child In Car For 8 Hours, Father Arrested for Leaving Child in Hot Car to Play Video Games, and Police: Couple Leave Child in Hot Car Outside a Strip Club.

Ok, first off. I am a mom. I have 7 kids. I have never, ever, ever left a single one of them alone in a car. Not to run inside and visit a friend, not to attend a graduation ceremony, not to play video games and certainly not to enter a strip club. Seriously, what type of people are these? Two instances state the child was actually the GODCHILD of the suspect. I really don't give a flip. If I TRUST you with my child, then that best damn well be your number one priority. I don't give a crap if you just remembered you have to tell Sally Jo something, and after running in to tell her get to gossiping and forget about time. I don't care if you have to attend a graduation, I don't care if you have groceries in your car and I don't care if your Farmville crops need tending to. My child best be the first thing on your mind while in your care! If not, please don't get offended if I don't ask you to watch my most prized accomplishments! I'm sorry but none of those things are more important to me than my kid.

While I have several kids, my oldest IS a teen. If I need to leave them in the vehicle, A) She sits in the driver's seat, b) she knows how to keep the AC/heat at the proper temperature and c) she knows HOW to drive, HOW to call my cell phone and to drive to the closest cop she can find if in danger. This is a far cry from leaving my 3 year old alone with the vehicle off for hours! One of those kids in the above stories died. It was one of the "child was the godchild of the accused" stories. These parents trusted her with their child and now they have to go on without him? Oh, I don't care who you are. I will fight to have you convicted!

According to my research only fourteen states have laws that prohibit leaving children unattended in an automobile. They include California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington. Penalties for leaving children alone range from noncriminal traffic infractions to second-degree manslaughter charges if the child dies as a result from being left alone in the car. Only 14 states of 50 actually have laws? The rest leave it up to local law enforcement? Uh, NEGATIVE! If my child dies because of someone else, I will beat the living crap out of any law enforcement official who says they can't do anything! Hopefully my news station and research got this wrong! 

From the Department of GeoSciences at San Francisco State University:

  Only 19 states have laws specifically addressing leaving a child unattended in a vehicle.
  The remaining 31 states do not have laws specifically against leaving a child unattended in a vehicle
  Currently only 1 state, Utah, has proposed legislation that would make it a crime to leave a child unattended in a vehicle
  Another 14 states have had previously proposed unattended child laws
  An Associated Press (AP) study "Wide disparity exists in sentences for leaving kids to die in hot cars" examined both the frequency of prosecutions and length of sentences in hyperthermia deaths
       - Charges were files in 49% of all the deaths. 81% resulted in convictions.
       - In cases with paid caregivers (i.e., childcare workers, babysitters) 84% were charged and 96% convicted
       - Only 7% of the cases involved drugs or alcohol

So, what's my take? If there is something more important in your life than your child, please refrain from reproducing. If there is something more important in your life than the safety and well being of a child in your care, then please refrain from watching someone's.

I have been hearing these stories for years. Thankfully no child I know has ever been a victim of this. But, to hear people say "In their defense, maybe they had too much on their mind...". WHAT? Let me tell you something! My kids are the first and foremost thing on my mind 24/7! Whether they are with me or with someone else. I worry about them, I pray for their safety, I trust that they will be fine. In 13 years, I have never walked into my house or other building and suddenly remembered "Oooops. I left {name of child here} in the car." As a matter of fact, I am the parent who goes to get them out of the vehicle EVEN WHEN THEY AREN'T WITH ME! I'm sorry. Don't hand me this line of bull that you had too much on your mind. If you have that much on  your mind then seriously, no I don't think you should even be caring for a child at the moment.

Hate me for my opinion. Hate me because I am blunt about it. Makes no difference to me. I believe that a child should come first and that is just that. AND IT'S MY OPINION!!!!

*Just a brief reminder that I am pouring my heart out and please be respectful in your comments. ;)*

Linked up at Things I Can't Say

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