Children left in hot cars are parent’s responsibility, not civilians
By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Originally published in The Other Press, Aug 5, 2014
Parents leaving their children in the car while they run errands is nothing uncommon—sadly. And recent tragedies remind us of all the bad moms and dads out there, too ignorant and irresponsible to care about their children’s safety. I’m saddened by the death of those infants, but I have no sympathy for bad parenting. If it’s preventable, it should have been prevented; otherwise, you don’t deserve children.
Walking through the parking lot of shopping malls and supermarkets, it’s not unusual to see an automobile with a child or a pet inside. The common behaviour when witnessing such a circumstance is to mind your own business. The parents or guardians will return shortly. It’s wrong to make a big deal, smash the windows, and call the police, right? Even if the being trapped inside is suffocating, dying?
If you are heroic, you are also foolish. Mentalities of bad parents are also the mentalities of bad people. It’s a generalization, but if you’re bad at one, there are few redeeming qualities that can balance it out. Parenting attributes should be a parent’s identity first and foremost. That means if you break a bad parent’s car window, you are probably going to get sued. It doesn’t matter if the child is saved or not. They will blame it on you, the red-handed car thief and alleged child abductor. If you call the cops and you’re right, you might save a child from an abusive life, but if you’re wrong, you’ll have social services take a child away from their parents. You just broke up a family for essentially no reason. So, are you a hero?
The only way to stop infants and toddlers from dying in vehicles while their parents shop, bank, or whatever, is that the parents take onus for what they are doing. They need to stop leaving their children in the car. That is the only solution!
But I do understand the parent’s psyche. All through my childhood, my parents have left me sitting in the backseat of their Honda Civic, while they did whatever adults do. Did anyone make a big deal out of it in 1994? Probably not, and I grew up just fine. Do I think my parents should have been arrested for that act? Probably not, but they should have at least understood the consequences. Did they do something wrong? Well, all that is still debatable. But if they did do something wrong, I would have been hurt, and their guilt would be their punishment. I’m not angry. I’m just disappointed.
Bad parenting kills, if it’s not in the car, it can be in the bathtub or on a sidewalk. Only the parents know what is right for their children and therefore, they should pay the full price when something goes wrong, especially when doing something asinine, like leaving a helpless infant in the car.
I will not break a car window to save your baby. I will turn a blind eye and live with no regrets. Your baby is your responsibility and you are the one who will live with the guilt. Not me. I have no sympathy for bad parenting, and children all over the world die all the time. I can’t save them, and I won’t save yours. It’s only fair. So let’s hope your kid learns to open a car door sooner than later.