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June 9, 2009

My greatest fear: doing something stupid that hurts my own kid

Many of us have been reading about yet another case of a baby dying after a parent left him alone, strapped into his car seat for an extended period of time. Four-month-old Everett Carrey died Monday after his father left him in a car all day. Everett’s father left him when he parked his car at the El Cerrito BART station so that he could grab a train to his San Francisco banking job.

Sure—like a lot of people who have, for example those who posted comments on SFGate.com’s message board—I can’t imagine ever forgetting my son in his rear car seat in the car when he was a baby.

However, I can imagine doing other stupid things that could potentially have devastating consequences.

It probably doesn’t surprise some of you to read that I can be a bit spacey, or that I can get distracted.

So, I’m driving in the car with my now 11-year-old son. More than once, I’ve found my attention drawn to something to the side of the road or freeway as we’re passing. A moment of inattention, and I’m just about drifting into the lane next to us, which would be especially horrific if we were going 60 mph on the freeway and the lane next to us wasn’t empty. Or a moment of inattention, and I suddenly look up to see that I’m about to rear-end a car.

Oh, recently driving along Market Street in San Francisco, with its weirdly placed traffic lights and crosswalks, I ended up running a red light. Truly, I wasn’t spacing out that time. I was paying attention, but I did run a red light. Fortunately, a car with the right of way didn’t come barreling into the intersection at the moment.

One of the local TV stations tweeted for responses to the question of whether the father, Alan Carey, should be charged with a crime. News reports say police were interviewing the parents today. If police find evidence of any pattern of neglect or abuse, there might be a case.

But neighbors told the San Francisco Chronicle that Alan and his wife, Anne Carey, were “successful, responsible, and ecstatic about having their first child.”

And “some neighbors who have raised families said the tragedy reminded them of how exhausted they had been trying to hold down jobs and raise newborns.”

If Alan Carey was a loving dad who spaced out and had his moment of inattention, would it serve any purpose to prosecute him? Wouldn’t you say he’s now being punished enough. Could a loving parent ever get over doing something like this to hurt their own child. I know I couldn’t.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Slow down. People need to stop living beyond their means, holding down multiple jobs, both parents working. For what? So you can take that vacation, or have that nice car and house?

Amazing that someone can forget to drop off their Responsibility to someone taking care of it all day for them.

Anonymous said...

not knowing any of the facts in this case I consider the 4:29 post pretty arrogant.

In many families both parents work to give their childern a chance at an education or a safe home and yes maybe even that vacation.

While I might not have responded to the first paragraph alone the second talking about droping off their responsibility is really uncalled for.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you, 5:13, and I've been at home for 16 years.
An overwhelmed father leaves his son in a car at a BART station and you have the gall to blame him? Seriously? So what if both parents are working whether it is a financial necessity or not, who are you to judge? Do you not think these parents are devestated enough, you just had to tack that on there?

For our family, both of us working outside of the home doesn't work and, fortunately, I don't absolutely have to work to give our kids a safe home or school, but some people do. Thank God you're able to be the perfect parent. (insert eye roll here)Personally, you sound like a really disgruntled stay at home mom.

Next time you respond, Anon 4:28, think about how cruel some of what you just said sounds. Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

6:38

"An overwhelmed father leaves his son in a car at a BART station and you have the gall to blame him? "

Ahhh if the father isn't to blame then who is?

The car for not having an alarm alerting him to the fact that his infant son is in the back? Probably the governments fault right?

5:13 said...

Why is it so hard to accept that some times bad things happen and nobody is to blame for it? I actually don't know enough of the facts in this particular case and I do fully support the authorities in investigating.

Why are some of you so quick to rush to conclusions. Blaming working parents for being bad parents, suggesting that they do drop off their responsibilities, that they only work for vacations, nice cars and houses?

I'm an atheist but I guess many of the people here on this blog call themselves good Christians, so why are you so quick to cast the first stone?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous-

Some of us hold down multiple jobs. Not To have the nice car- we don't HAVE a car.
Not to have the nice home- we don't OWN a home. We rent a fair-to-middlin' apartment to "Tenderloin Heights". We consider ourselves lucky to have a roof.

Not for a nice vacation- we will have a vacation when we're dead :-(

Just stop for a minute and consider how arrogant and mean-spirited you sound.

Anna, The Lemon Lady said...

Soccer Mom,
You are not spacey. You are a MOM. We all work so hard to raise our families, to care, to nurture, to love. The only difference between you and I, or you and others...is that you write about it, and others do not.

We are human. I've run a red light or a stop sign. I can't remember which. That's called an accident. Luckily, nothing happened. There were no other cars around. It happens, not deliberately, not purposely. I only wish my husband were not in the car that day. Would have been easier to forgive myself.

Have a great night.

I'm not even going to comment about this poor child, other than the parents must be suffering. My heart breaks.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:57

There is a VERY big difference between placing blame and implying that what the father did was intentional. The dad sounds like an overwhelmed man who simply forgot. I would venture to guess that this man will NEVER forgive himself for "forgetting" so, please, get off your high horse and stop being such a jerk, this poor family has been punished enough without comments like yours.

Masterlock said...

I feel awful for this family. It was mentioned, but I'd imagine the sleep deprivation of having a 4 month old probably played a part in this as well. In the bay area, most families have both parents working as hard as they can...

DodgerDog said...

The father IS to blame. The child was in HIS car, HE parked the car at BART and left the child in there.

I can't believe some of the comments "you have the gall to blame him", "Bad things happen and some times nobody is to blame for it". Really??? There is somebody to blame for it- the father.

A 4 month old or a 4 year old depends on his/her parents for EVERYTHING. The #1 responsibility of a parent is to protect, love, and nurture their child. In this case, dad didn't do that. Whether he is overworked, distracted, out of his usual routine, depressed, ill, etc. is academic. He forgot about his #1 responsibility- taking care of his child that is helpless.

Having said all of that- I don't believe he should be prosecuted. He is not a threat to society as a whole, and prison is not going to rehabilitate him. His life is ruined, he may very well be suicidal now, or in the future, and I suspect his marriage is doomed. Pretty tragic all the way around.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Soccer Mom said...

Anon 10:54,
Sorry, I had to delete your comment, because of the language, the f-bombs and s-bombs. Personally, I don't find the language offensive, but other readers might.

If you want to re-write your comment, without the obscenities and with your criticisms of what I write, please do.

Anonymous said...

DodgerDog who made you god? How dare you to judge that this dad did not love nurture and protect his son? Sure he made a terrible error but you have absolutely no basis to make your claim. How arrogant of you to think that you never made an error raising your children. Trust me you made plenty of them and so does each and every other parent who loves his or her child as much as you probably do. Luckily almost all of these errors have much less devastating results.

How can you face yourself in the mirror each morning with that holier than the pope attitude

DodgerDog said...

Anon 3:10PM:

Are you kidding me? What holier than thou attitude? That the father screwed up? Are you saying he didn't?

I never said I don't make mistakes raising my kids- I do. We all do. We are all human. However, 99.9% of us do not make mistakes that result in our child dying.

I did not mean to imply that this father did not love or nurture his child. I apologize for that.

I am saying that a 4 month old is dependent on his/her parents for everything, and the father made a tragic error. A 4 month old can not fend for himself for anything.

And, you're going to think I'm being arrogant, I would not, and have not, forgotten that my child was in the backseat of a car for 8 hours. I'm sorry, that is inexcusable.

As I wrote earlier- this is a tragedy all-around. One innocent life is lost, and two parents (and extended family) lives are affected forever. I cannot imagine living with that, and my heart goes out to the parents.

Anonymous said...

DodgerDad you are right you didn't imply that the father didn't love or nurture his child. You came right out and said it. Here is your quote:

"The #1 responsibility of a parent is to protect, love, and nurture their child. In this case, dad didn't do that."

And I'm so glad that you only chose to make errors that did not result in your child dying.

Unfortunately for us humans we can't predict the consequences of an error. As Soccer Mom actually tried to suggest in her blog sometimes stupid errors can have devastating consequences.


By the way I'm not saying the dad didn't make a horrible error but I don't need to blame the dad for it to make me feel superior. Maybe the dad already is blaming himself for it? Buy he certainly doesn't need Mr. Bigshot Little Leage Coach "I have been chosen to coach all-star teams" DodgerDog to spout around that he didn't love and nurture his child.

So please, it must be time for you to watch another episode of Dr. Phil on TV?

DodgerDog said...

Anon, you're either bored and trying to pick a fight, or you are not understanding what I wrote. And yes, it's quite possible that I didn't communicate clearly.

Quite simply, I was responding to earlier posters that said the father wasn't too blame. Yes, he is. That doesn't make me better, We all make mistakes. But for people to say it wasn't the father's fault, or that sometimes bad things just randomly happen, is not accurate (based on the reports so far). From the media accounts (and we don't know the whole story), he is at fault. He left his child in the car. That doesn't make me better, self-satisfied, or anything else. It saddens me that this happened.

Of course the dad blames himself. If he didn't, he wouldn't be human. We all make mistakes. Thankfully most of them do not cost a human life.

But this wasn't a mistake of forgetting to close the garage door, leaving a light on, forgetting his briefcase at home, etc. HE FORGOT THAT HIS HELPLESS, DEFENSELESS 4 MONTH OLD SON WAS IN THE BACK SEAT OF HIS CAR, AND APPARENTLY FORGOT ABOUT HIM ALL DAY!! That is tragic, and inexcusable. The father will suffer the rest of his life.

For the last time, here are the two posts I was responding to:


"An overwhelmed father leaves his son in a car at a BART station and you have the gall to blame him?"

"Why is it so hard to accept that some times bad things happen and nobody is to blame for it?"

Yes, there is blame to be assigned. It is the police department's job to determine who is to blame, and the district attorney's office job to decide what, if any, charges are to be filed.

Personally, as I posted earlier, I hope that no charges are filed. No punishment could be worse than what he has to live with.

Get it, anon?? Nothing to do with feeling superior.

Annie said...

With all due respect to all 4:28s, 5:16s, and the rest of the folks who have commented, you're ignoring the question! No one asked who is to blame (rhetorical question: why do we always need someone to blame?).

The question was: "If Alan Carey was a loving dad who spaced out and had his moment of inattention, would it serve any purpose to prosecute him? Wouldn’t you say he’s now being punished enough." [sic]

So...would it serve any purpose to prosecute him? IMHO absolutely not. He's probably living in his own personal h*ll without having to spend a day in jail. And really, what purpose would it serve? Would it make him a better father? Would it make him a responsible parent? Would it be good for that family to be without him; the father, the provider? Who would be punished then? Jail time would only serve as a double-whammy to that little boy, while ruining a man's life in the process.

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