The recent AP report1 told of an accidental childhood death that should not have happened. Noah Thomas was five years old and would have been entering first grade this week… if he were still alive. His parents are in jail without bond for felony child neglect. Noah’s body was found, fully clothed, in a septic tank near their home in Pulaski County. The coroner’s office says Noah died March 26, 2015. A homicide charge against the mother has been dropped. The cause of death is currently listed as “undetermined”. Hypothermia contributed to the little boy’s death.
Unintentional injury is still the leading cause of deaths in children, ages 1 through 14 (National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.). Fourteen children have died in “hot car” deaths in the U.S. so far this year. There seems to be a trend today of parents and caregivers who are so busy or so oblivious that they forget their kids. Then there are people who don’t know how to care for young children. I do not understand when there are many ways of contraception, why people who don’t really want to take responsibility for raising children, have children at all. It has been indicated in the literature that offspring of teen mothers often become abused or neglected because the parents don’t know how to care for them.2
Alerting young parents to raise children safely and healthfully is a daunting task. In 2003, the death of an 8-year old boy here in the Valley made an impression on me. This child suffered severe diarrhea, but his parents did not know how to care or what to do for him. He had been taken to the emergency room at least once. He was found in the shower where he had been trying to wash himself when he died. He was alone. Please ask yourselves, what these examples say about the state of child safety. Could these childhood deaths have been prevented?
1 “Medical Examiner Says Boy Drowned”, Associated Press, The Daily News Record, August 13, 2015, p. B3
2 Teen Parent Child Care Quality Improvement Project, Florida State University, Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy, 4/15/2005