Protected to Death
Buried in a "news in brief" column in the OC Register today is a sad story about a car crash in which a car went off the road and skidded down a 60-ft bank into the Colorado River. The woman and her 11-year-old daughter escaped the car, but her 5-year-old daughter apparently sank with the car.
My knowledge of some of the laws foisted 'pon us by our omnipotent federal government reminds me that smaller children are required to be hogtied into an inescapable contrivance, far enough away from the driver that (s)he will be unable to reach the child in a panic situation. The restraints are secure enough that they are not easily undone, nor can the child save his(her)self.
I constantly wonder, watching parents deal with these child seats as they try to get them undone in supermarket parking lots or at nursery schools, why a parent would put up with this crap.
Now, I'm sure the National Transportation Authorities have cooked up hundreds of pages of statistics why making a mummy of your child in a coffin in the back seat of the car is a good idea, and that, as San Fran Nan might say, "500 million children's lives are saved each day" by these infernal devices. Some of that stuff can be found here.
Tell that to little Danica Maestas. Oh. You can't tell her. She's dead and her body has yet to be found.
Her body remains in the back seat of the car, rolling along in the Colorado River current to be found, probably sometime soon. Dead.
So, thank you, NTSB, for preempting yet another parent's prerogative regarding the safety of his (her) children--to the child's detriment. It's a one-size-fits-all world.
There were no child safety coffins around in my childhood. My parents avoided killing us in car wrecks by not having any. Following that line of thinking, I did the same thing. As I see it, all these safety devices (on the occasions when they don't kill the kids by drowning or by fire) actually do is give parents reason to believe that they can drive faster and more carelessly. Watch some of the suv's blasting down the freeways, careening from lane to lane, kids safely hogtied in the back seat, going 85 mph while talking on the cell phone, then tell me how well those little coffins work.
We don't know (the news story doesn't say) how fast little Danica's mother was driving, or whether she was talking on the phone, but I'll wager she would've tried to grab Danica's hand and pull her out of the car, had the little girl not been trussed up in that awful little death trap.
Aside: I wonder what was Ted Kennedy's excuse.....sorry. I couldn't resist.
Government is the root of all evil.