Be Careful Out There

Warning: This is NOT a humorous post. You will not come out of this one laughing, you probably won’t even be smiling.

About a year ago I walked down a hallway carrying a fourteen-month-old baby in my arms. A baby who would never get a day older. This sweet child was dead and I was taking his body to his mother.

It’s a sad story. The saddest part is that his death was totally preventable. He was run over by a family member in his own driveway. This man had simply not seen the child and backed his truck right over him.

I’m not trying to lay blame. If the glimpse I got of this man in the aftermath of this tragedy is any indicator, he’s laid enough blame on himself to last a lifetime. I’m just trying to… raise awareness, I guess.

Every spring and summer the company I work for, in conjunction with several other corporations in the area and across the country, runs a campaign called Spot the Tot. The idea is very simple. Walk all the way around your car before you back-out.

I know, you’re tired and harried and it’s hot and you’ve just buckled 87 children into various car-seats and boosters but it’s that 88th kid, that neighbor kid, that kid who came over because he heard your brood outside and he’s looking for someone to play with, who’s going to be where you just can’t see him.

If you’re lucky enough to be going somewhere without your children make sure that they didn’t follow you out for one more kiss before you drive off. (Also, if your children are anything like mine you might find that walking around your vehicle that one extra time saves you from running over a bike or scooter, or doll or what have you more than once this summer.)

There are lots of other common injuries that I could warn you about. I could tell you not to let you underage kids ride four-wheelers alone but I’m afraid I’m fighting a losing battle on that one. I could tell you to be so so careful with your lawnmowers but I’m hoping none of my readers are dumb enough to let your kids ride on the engine block while you mow. (Yes, it happens. No, it’s not the only way kids get injured by mowers and you do still need to be careful because lawn mowers do not make for pretty injuries and they often result in amputations.) But these injuries are not as frequently fatal and to my mind the are somehow slightly less… tragic? Senseless? (I’m not sure what the word is and I’m not sure why I feel that way. I’m sure I wouldn’t if one of these others happened to my kid but there you have it anyway.)

I could tell you to get one of those safety-net things for your trampoline or better yet not to have one at all but the fact of the matter is, I think breaking an arm or two is almost a rite of passage for a kid.

It’s the things that stop passage that haunt me. Please, just be careful.

Happier posts to follow, I promise.

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tausha
    May 20, 2008 @ 21:20:05

    Ok-I think that we live closer that I thought. I know that story you told. They live relatively close to me. (5 mins) It was horrible, terrible, awful! How greateful i am for the gospel.
    I appreciate the reminder. i don’t think that we parents can ever be told enough to slow down, walk around and make sure that no children can be found! (yes, I just made it up) I know-you want to be my friend cause I can rhyme:)

    Go and check out my blog, i have more info on the swap. I need your info (address and such) for the swap. SO jump on over and check it ouT!

  2. Allison
    May 20, 2008 @ 21:21:24

    Good reminder. You hear about it on the news, but a personal story like this makes me stop in my tracks and really pay attention and change my behavior.

  3. bythelbs
    May 21, 2008 @ 14:03:56

    OK, after reading this I’m pretty sure I will not be able to back up my car without checking for first. So mission accomplished?

    And riding around on lawn mower engine blocks? huh?

    We do have a trampoline though. Oops.

  4. Tausha
    May 21, 2008 @ 22:18:25

    Hi fun new friend. I know that you are busy with everything, but if I could bug you to add one more thing to your already long list.
    Would you send me your info -name address email and real name if this is not it-just so i know who you are-i have had some confusion on this one.
    send it to sassystyiln@comcast.net by the end of this weekend.
    i will get you the info on on your swapper-so you can go and check her out and learn all that you want too about her.
    I am still waiting for a copy of that fabulous book that you wrote. But if your life has been anything like mine these past few days with school almost being out-i understand if you are sitting in a corner eating chocolate, drinking diet coke and watching full house reruns. 🙂 (not that I have ever done this)

  5. Girl, Dislocated
    May 22, 2008 @ 09:27:41

    The story doesn’t really surprise me. What surprises me is how many practically identical stories I’ve heard! It would be nice if auto makers could install some type of sensor that would let drivers know if the area behind their vehicle is clear. I’m sure something similar is probably installed in newer, higher-end vehicles and cameras for backing up are in some cars as well, but this should be an option for everyone.

  6. chronicler
    May 22, 2008 @ 17:02:45

    Oh my Alison, I cannot express in words how much I understand what you do. Please, please find a way (don’t ask me how or what will work for you) to lower your stress regarding these things. I know all to well the toll it takes on a health care worker to deal with these kinds of issues. You are the third victim every time someone has one of these accidents. They will affect your life forever.

    Sorry to be a bummer. But people never think of the toll a few careless moments cost others. Yes, this man is hurt, scarred for life. Yes, this accident caused immeasurable pain for this family. I am not trying to diminish that pain. Only add to it the pain of a healthcare worker who has to carry the burden of many dead children, loved ones and sadness all in the named of “I was in a hurry, or it didn;t cross my mind”.

    Please everyone listen. These accidents cost more than you know.

  7. Jennifer
    May 22, 2008 @ 19:37:23

    and my kids complain they can’t play outside while I mow the lawn. Its all for safety.

  8. Annie
    May 23, 2008 @ 19:28:15

    I hate you for that post and I love you for that post.

  9. Sue
    May 24, 2008 @ 23:59:25

    Your first paragraph made my heart stop a little.

    Did you hear about what just happened to Stephen Chapman’s family? His teenage son accidentally ran over their little girl. What a horrible, tragic thing. I can’t imagine what that family, and especially their son, is going through right now. Thanks for this reminder.

  10. e
    May 27, 2008 @ 22:26:48

    I’m with you on the concept that broken bones heal and even amputations can be lived with, it’s the things that make you stop living I worry about too. I can never pull out unless I can see all of my children.

  11. Mother of the Wild Boys
    Apr 24, 2009 @ 19:32:36

    That has to be a heavy burden…a part of you will always be carrying that baby, ya know? So sad…
    PS-My kids have never been on a 4 wheeler, or a lawnmower. And we don’t have a trampoline. But I’ll definitely be more careful with the car, better safe than sorry.

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