In the last 10 days or so, two stories have been reported on one of the worst tragedies imaginable, recalling “The Scream,” the painting from Edward Munch. A parent forgot his own child locked in a carseat on a sweltering hot day. The child died.
A modern day tragedy summed up in this one word: hypothermia.
Apparently it is on the rise since the 1990S when carseat safety protocol was changed. Because of the danger of airbags it is no longer legal to place car seats in the front passenger seat. They are now placed in the back of a vehicle. As an added measure of safety, the carseat is locked in backward, so the face of the baby or toddler faces the back, not the front. The baby essentially becomes invisible.
There has been a storm of reaction to these stories. To my shock, much of it is painfully harsh, even nasty, demonizing the parents. Some go as far as to call for their prosecution on grounds of parental negligence.
I am not a parent, but when I barely got through the article reporting these tragedies, I was shaking with terror, feeling, “G-d, this could happen to me.”
As vigilant or even neurotic as I may be when caring for children, there is always that anxiety of what can go wrong.
We all sometimes experience those exhausting or overwhelming days when we revert to auto pilot, and if we achieve something, be it a small accomplishment like getting to work in time or something that carries more weight, we are not quite sure how we did it or made it.
There are slip ups, close calls, near tragedies and mistakes we all make. But by the grace of G-d they don’t end up in a tragedy. Obliviously we continue on, sweetly living our lives.