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A Bad Start for Child Safety in 2017


I write this with a very heavy heart. It has just come over the newsfeed that the body of a child missing child from his home in Aurora, CO, over New Year’s, David Puckett, age 6, may have been found in a pond not far from his home. His mother was worried about the falling temperatures. A specialty dog pointed the rescue team to the pond. If it is confirmed that it is this child, his family will have the beginning of closure and heartache beyond belief, all at once. sends prayers.

Not far from my home this week two young boys, brothers, died in a house fire in Mt. Crawford, Virginia. It was an older rental home, a space heater may have been involved. I know members of this family and how they loved all their children. They are devastated. There may have been faulty wiring, the investigation continues. The “family night” was New Year’s Eve. The family now has the terrible job of dealing with their grief.

And everyone has seen, I assume, the video of the two toddler twin brothers in Utah, when a dresser from Ikea fell over on the one little boy, the other baby figured out how to push the dresser off of his brother. It was filmed on their “Nanny” camera. This was a happy ending. But now there is talk about “maybe there should be charges of neglect filed” against the parents. No, I don’t think so. We should rejoice here that nothing worse happened to the child trapped beneath the dresser… and that his quick-thinking toddler brother was capable and cognizant — instinctively — of what to do to save his brother’s life.

So, comes the question: Where were the parents? Why didn’t they start searching immediately when they were aware David left the house, why didn’t the parents involved in the house fire make sure that any appliance they used was certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL)…and that no space heater was used in a confined space where people (children) were sleeping? And about that Nanny Cam, no, one would make sure that their very own eyes were the on their toddlers… and not leave watching young children… to a camera… that cannot think. The parents of the toddlers have another chance. I hope they “get” that, and never, ever put off stabilizing a piece of furniture when they have the chance, again. I know how badly they must have felt–they seem conscientious…they learned a major lesson, and I am sure they are so grateful. Frequently, more frequently than people realize, parents don’t get do-overs.

In any case, wishes everyone a happy, healthy and safe New Year.

Author: Marianne Halterman

Marianne is a member of the SafeKids Coalition of the Central Shenandoah Valley.

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