A Kentucky man accused of leaving his toddler in a hot car for over two hours has been arrested, and though he is the latest in a string of parents to do the same, his story is different than most.
For some reason, summertime in Kentucky makes some parents lose their heads a little when it comes to the safety of their children. Not a summer has gone by in my recollection for the past several years that didn’t include at least one tragic tale of a child’s death that could have been prevented were it not for a baking car. The case that started a statewide law is etched into my memory because the victim was just a baby, purposely left in a car by his caregiver; his father worked with my dad. The law is called Bryan’s Law, and it relates to the reformed punishment and charges incurred when a person knowingly leaves a child unattended in a vehicle. If the action results in the child’s death, the adult responsible can face 2nd degree manslaughter charges.
But 31-year old Kenneth Robinson says he was simply rushed and preoccupied when he drove right by his son’s daycare center on his way to work, forgetting the child was in the car with him. He was in such a hurry that he pulled up at his place of employment and went in without seeing the 2-year old in the backseat. Luckily, a coworker noticed the boy, who was red-faced and overheated but otherwise okay, and called 911.
Robinson has been charged with wanton endangerment, but the facts of his case are causing people to talk because they differ from the usual stories; if his mistake really was just that–a case of forgetfulness–should he be punished in the same manner as the other perpetrators are?
If I accomplish anything with this article, I hope it is to bring awareness to people who don’t understand that the interior of a car in summer–especially right now, when local forecasts for the week are averaging around 101 degrees–can quickly become an oven and has the potential to top 140 degrees. That is no place for a child, even if you are only going to be gone for a few minutes. And if the wellbeing of your child doesn’t concern you that much, take this into account: business owners, schools, and daycare centers can and will call the police if they see you leave a child in a car.
Slow down, people. Getting to work on time isn’t as important as the safety of another human being.