Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Almost Ran Over A Child

It happened this morning at the carpark at Aaron's school. I've been thinking a lot about the incident today and wondering if I didn't look carefully enough. Honestly, I can't remember exactly how everything happened.

I'm pretty sure that I would have checked the rear view mirror and then looked over my shoulders to take care of any blindspots. Thankfully, I was reversing out at a slow crawl because I know there are always lots of parents and children walking around. I think what could have happened was that the little girl (about 5 years old), walked past the back of the car when I looked back to the front to check that I didn't turn into the car next to me. I'm supposed to do that right? I can't think of a way to avoid looking at the front of my car, at least a short while, when reversing out of a car park. When I looked back, I saw a lady about to cross behind the car so I stopped the car to let her pass. It was when she got to the other side of my car that I saw her speaking sternly to the little girl. The girl must have walked off without her mother.

I'll definitely be more careful from now on and I've also decided to park at another area where I know less people will be walking about. It should also be safer for Aaron and Adrian because there is less chance of them being in the position that the little girl was today.

What if I actually did knock that girl over? This has been bugging me a little all day. Was I too careless? Even if I did everything right and the girl, being a 5 year old, ran ahead of her mom, its not going to make up for anything if I ran over her!

On a slightly different note but still to do with kids and cars, a mother has been charged with neglect after she left her three children (aged 10, 5 and 3) in a car for 10 minutes while she went into a supermarket to pick up three items. She left the A/C and the car running. Under Queensland law, it is illegal to leave a child under 12 unattended for an unreasonable time without making reasonable provision for the supervision and care of the child. From the article, this lady does not sound like a negligent mother, just a mother that was probably made a very conscious decision to leave her children in a comfortable car and run in to pick up 3 items that she probably urgently needed. 

I'll admit that I've done something similar once. I left Aaron and Adrian in the car while I ducked into the post office to pick up a parcel. They were about 25m away and except for the time I had to speak to the lady behind the counter, I had my eyes on them. I think I took about 10 minutes as well. I didn't leave the car running because I was worried that somebody would come and drive the car and my kids away. 

At first glance at the article, I thought it was a little over the top to charge the lady with neglect. Just as I thought I wasn't wrong in leaving Aaron and Adrian in the car. But, the magistrate made a point that I didn't think of. She said that if something did happen, there would have been a lot of responsibility placed on the 10 year old. 

I've had a day of eye openers in terms of keeping children safe in cars. So much so that I probably drove a little too slowly on the highway (only 15km/h under the speed limit but I was still honked) while I was thinking about these things. That can also be hazardous to the children in the car. Sheesh!


Mike said...

Backing up is the most hazardous thing you can do in a car. When I worked for the phone company they would tell you to avoid backing at all costs. Sometimes you can't but if you look around you may find a way to not back up.

Bilbo said...

I'm with Mike. In my case, I have a hard time backing up because of the arthritis in my neck that makes it very difficult to turn my head enough to back up safely. I always try to park in places where I can pull through and not have to back out.

In your case, it looks like you did everything right, and you shouldn't beat yourself up over this. Continue to follow your instincts and do the right thing, as you always do.