Tragic Fire in NYC Kills Thirteen. Was it Parental Negligence?
James L. Casale
Ignorance is not bliss; it’s dangerous. Remember the four-year-old boy who fell into the zoo enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2016? He was unharmed, but the gorilla was executed. The police considered charging the parents with negligence. They didn’t. They should have. Even the gorilla knew more about caring for his offspring.
In New York City, on December 29, 2017, a preschooler playing with the burners on his mother’s stove caused one of the deadliest fires in NYC in decades. Was it the toddler’s fault? Of course not. His mother’s ignorance of her solemn responsibility to protect her child reveals a situation that too often occurs here and around the world. Or is it sheer stupidity and laziness that is part of this deadly equation?
Who pays the price?
Toddlers are NOT tuned in to danger. They are curious about everything they can touch and see and put in their mouths. They, along with infants, are at the mercy of their caregivers, and they often pay the price for it. The boy who fell into the zoo enclosure should have been tethered to a stroller or holding his father’s hand. The toddler fascinated with stove burners should never have been out of his mother’s line of sight. According to reports, this was not his first adventure with the stove. He and his mother escaped unharmed. Twelve others didn’t.
Pool deaths and children left in cars
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) statistics reveal that 350 children under the age of five die each year because of drowning in backyard pools. In addition, NBC News reports that 38 children—infants and toddlers—suffocate each year as a result of being left in cars where temperatures soar to a high of 120 degrees. Six hundred of these needless deaths have occurred since 1998.
Such negligence causes infinite pain to many loved ones and steals the lives of children who will never have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams. This is the unbearable cost of parental negligence.
What can be done?
If parents and caregivers don’t comprehend the magnitude and responsibility that comes with being a parent, all hope is lost. Yes, parenting is difficult and challenging. But these children didn’t choose their parents; their parents chose them. When you choose to be a parent, you are required to leave your narcissistic cocoon and care for another human being.
Parents can break through their ignorance by reading appropriate books and magazines and talking to teachers, early childhood experts, and other professionals. Most parents are not prepared for what lies ahead of them. If they at least understand that, they may seek to educate themselves about effective parenting and their solemn responsibility. I recommend this before the child is born. Too many new parents busy themselves with decorating a child’s room and buying the right diapers. The focus should always be on the child’s health and safety.
Dr. Casale is a state and national award-winning educator and the author of the highly praised book published by Skyhorse Publishing, Wise Up and Be the Solution: How to Create a Culture of Learning at Home and Guide Your Child to Succeed in School and Life. It is available at bookstores and online.
His second parenting book, Family Pledge; Raising Lifelong Learners and Good Citizens, has received five-star reviews on Amazon and is also available at bookstores and digitally.
He is available as a speaker.
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