All good parents are convinced that they would do anything to keep their kids safe, and would never do anything to hurt them. Unfortunately, we’re wrong, and possibly dangerously so.
My own self-confidence took a huge blow when I read this amazing article from the March 8 Washington Post Magazine, written by the usually-humorous Gene Weingarten. The article is about parents who accidentally leave their very young kids in their cars, sure that they’ve dropped them off where they were supposed to have; they only realize their mistake when it is tragically too late.
When I’ve read news stories about these incidents, my reaction has always been to think that the people involved must be terrible parents, and that such a thing could never have happened to me when my kids were babies or toddlers. Having read the article, I realize I was wrong: These parents are perfectly normal people who were as devoted to their kids as my wife and I have always been.
I can’t possibly improve on the article—it’s an exceptional piece of writing. I think every parent, everywhere, should read it and the transcript of the online chat based on it, because the only way this terrible trend can be reversed is by raising awareness (the piece about ways to help prevent such tragedies is good, too). It’s a shocking wake-up call, but I think it’s a necessary one. I do advise you read the article sometime when you can read the whole thing at once, and when you can give your kids a big hug as soon as you’re done, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to.
When you’re done reading the article, or if you’re not sure if you should, please take six minutes or so and watch this video, where a man named Todd Costello and his wife Melody talk about how their marriage has fared since their tragedy: