Friday, June 27, 2008

More on babies in back seats

I was a bit surprised by how many people reacted to yesterday’s item on the tragedy of little Nicholas McCorkle, the 14-month-old who died after being left in the back of his grandfather’s SUV for hours.

Edward Kanterman faces a felony charge of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the case. Whether or not Kanterman should have been charged has sparked a lot of debate.

But I’m also hoping that something good can come out of this horrific incident, specifically a way to ensure this kind of tragedy does not happen again.

Kanterman has indicated that he simply forgot that the child was in the back seat of his car.

Yesterday I offered an idea from a reader involving placing a medium-sized teddy bear in the empty car seat, then placing the stuffed animal next to you in the front seat when the child is put in the car. Hopefully when the driver gets out, he or she will notice the teddy bear, in the process ensuring they do not forget the precious cargo in the back.

I got several other good suggestions from readers yesterday.

Pete Snow is a former Delco resident who now catches up with all the news from his old stomping grounds by checking out Delcotimes.com every day. He now lives in New Castle, Del.

Snow credits his son Dan with the idea. This is how it would work: It’s patterned on the bell that goes off to alert the driver that someone in the car does not have their seat belt fastened.

Snow suggests using the technology in reverse. When a driver turns off the ignition, if any seat belt remains fastened, a similar alarm would go off. Since the seat belt is used to secure the baby in the back, the alarm would go off if the belt was not undone to get the baby out.

If we can utilize this technology to ensure that we don’t leave the lights on in cars, don’t you think we might consider it to protect babies?

Cori Stauffer also checked in. She’s a mother of three and a former nanny, so she knows a little something about transporting kids.

Stauffer suggests anyone who is carrying such precious passengers purchase a child safety mirror. It attaches to the rear-view mirror and gives a bird’s eye view of the back seat.

Another good idea.

I’m still haunted by a single question from this sad story. I continue to ask myself if I could see a situation where this could have happened to me. And I continue to sweat a bit as I ponder the answer.

I know what I’d like it to be; but I also fear for what it could be.

Let’s take every measure we possibly can to make sure something like this never happens again.

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