In a tragedy that seems to happen all too often, another baby in Phoenix has died when they were left in a car.
On Tuesday, 17 month old Ryan Gallagher was left in a car for seven hours. His mother, 22 year old Ashly Duchene somehow forgot to drop him off at day care and went to work at 10:00. She came out seven hours later and Ryan was dead.
The high temperature on Tuesday was 88 — demonstrating that this sort of tragedy doesn’t just happen in the oppressive heat of the Phoenix summer. I posted a graph here that shows how hot (and how quickly) the interior of a car can get at various temperatures.
Ms. Duchene was later arrested and charged with felony negligent homicide in the death of her son.
We’ve posted about similar deaths before on this blog, leading to some very spirited debate. There was an interesting article in today’s Arizona Republic that discusses some of the disparity in how these types of cases are adjudicated.
I won’t even attempt to explain it, but there seemed to be far more public outcry in August when police officer Tom Lovejoy left his police K-9 dog Bandit in a car. Bandit died and Lovejoy has been charged with reckless animal abuse, a misdemeanor, and still faces a trial. Lovejoy and his family have even received death threats.
Regardless of your opinion on what should be done with caregivers who leave children in cars, one thing is abundantly clear — these tragedies are completely avoidable. Please, do whatever it takes. I used to think suggestions like posting a note on your dashboard, or “Put your wallet or briefcase or purse in the back seat. These are all the sort of things we automatically grab for, one more way to remember, `oh, yeah, the baby’s also in the back seat.” were ridiculous. Why someone would remember a purse or wallet but not their child is mind-numbing to consider, but if it works, do it.
[tags]Ryan Gallagher, child death[/tags]