I thought my neice was good when she could operate a VCR at 3 years old...
I thought my neice was good when she could operate a VCR at 3 years old...
It's incredibly stupid for her to let the son sit on her lap, though to be fair, a reasonable person wouldn't expect that particular result.The mother told police her son tried to drive the car earlier after she let him steer from her lap.
The story is pretty scary for anyone who is a parent. A child that age is old enough to get out of locked houses, but not smart enough to understand consequences. A few months back, a horrible story occurred nearby where a ~5 yr old girl wandered out of the family's apartment, walked ~ 2 miles, crossed at least two side streets, and was killed by a motorist on a major roadway.
Every time I read something like this, I'm reminded of the Toonces The Driving Cat SNL skit.
On a serious note, the technology exists to sound an audible alarm when any door or window in your home is opened and is not nearly as expensive as getting a full-on, "wired to a response center" Home Security System.
Be that as it may, my sister went ahead and got the full services from Brinks when her daughter was born.
Oh, we did that when we were kids. On major roads? Of course not. But tooling around side streets, sure.Originally Posted by pghnative
It's illegal now (of course), but "incredibly stupid" is way too strong.
Yeah, my grandfather used to drive us around like that. There was a catch, though: No one in my family had an automatic until I was nearly 16. No 4 year old is going to be able to drive a standard.Originally Posted by SeanF
I was apalled that the parent was dismissed without any charges... What would happen had the kid come across a fire engine in a hurry?
Can you believe it. . . first, this guy threatening to blow up the white house a few weeks ago turns out to be from my po-dunk home town of Cedar Springs, MI, then this event occurs in an even smaller po-dunk town just 5 miles to the North!
At first, I was thinking this could very well have been my ex-girlfriend's kid, but then I recalled he'd be a bit older than 4. . . :-?
They putting something in the water near you Wally?Originally Posted by Wally
I tell ya. . . damn glad I have my own well, that's all I can say!!!Originally Posted by frogesque
I believe a loud crunch, accompanied by a dead child. However, I think because this did manage to go off without incident beyond the incident in question, and the fact that mom probably fibrillated when she was told, it was safe to let it go. Not like criminal intent can be attributed to anyone involved.Originally Posted by Argos
And speaking as someone who's been a 4 year old, you can't actually expect a parent to know where a child at that age is 100% of the time. I was really good at sneaking and hiding around the house at that age. I'm sure if I had wanted to, I could have rather quietly snuck out of the house and run amuck somewhere.Originally Posted by Doodler
I didn't mean it's stupid because of safety concerns. I meant that it's incredibly stupid because it's illegal. In today's society she could have been charged with child endangerment. Had some accident occurred (at no fault of hers) which injured/killed her child while sitting on her lap, she would have definitely been charged with a crime.Originally Posted by SeanF
Considering she admitted as much, I'm surprised they didn't charge her with anything (not for the kid driving, but for the earlier bit).
And people think this part of the state is backwoods. :wink:Originally Posted by Wally
Years ago when I lived in a new subdivision in California, my neighbor kids would run wild through the neighborhood. One of the boys was 4 or 5 years old at the time. When the next set of houses began to be built, after the workman left for the day, the boy climbed onto a bulldozer and managed to figure out how to get it started.
When my kids were small, I tooled around the neighborhood once or twice with them in my lap. It was a suburan neighborhood with only sidestreets. It was lit by streetlamps and we did it after dark when the streets were empty. I just let the car idle and kept my foot near the brake. I would nudge the steering wheel to keep us in the middle of the road and we only went around the block.
I would expect that the mother probably did something similar. I'm sure if she thought her child would take off with the car, she would have secured the keys, but like most people (myself included) she just probably tossed them in a drawer, because who expects their 4 year old to take off with the car to the video store in the middle of the night! I know my son would wake up in the middle of the night sometimes, so we used a chain lock on the doors and left a movie or two near the TV in case he wanted to watch movies. We also taught him to come and wake us, so I could go and sleep on the sofa with him while he got sleepy again watching a Disney movie.
Another advantage of growing up in the country. I'd sit in my father's lap and steer. Early on I learned how to drive. Plus I had a go-cart that I drove all over that half of the county too. 3/4 of the people living there were relatives so I was always under a watchful eye.
When I got big enough we'd take our old beater into a pasture and I'd drive it around. Church was just 3 miles away and I was driving us there by the time I was 14. By the time I was old enough to get a leaner's permit, I already knew how to drive and to respect vehicles for the machines they are and not toys to be cruising or dragging through town. Getting my driver's license was just a formality that let me go into town.
Even now my young cousins drive their father's (or uncle's, or cousin's) 4x4 pickup to feed cattle or run a quick errand for an adult too busy in the field to do it themselves. Or they'll take over the plowing or bailing while the adult runs to town. And, while rarer, you'll occasionally see a monster combine going by with a squirt in the seat.
But the country's a different story from the rural suburbia I live in now.
I hope that they aleast found the mother at fault for insurance purposes. I would be ticked off if my car was hit and I was told that I was out of luck because it was a 4 year old kid who was driving.
I also hope that mom installs some security locks/bolts/chains something to keep kid from opening the door without her knowledge.
Is anybody else curious how he knew the right directions?
The road between his apartment and the store is the main north/south road running thru the town, so I imagine he's probably pretty familiar with it. Heck, if he was observant enough to know how to start and drive the car, remembering the route to the store was probably chicken feed for him!
Aren't there laws in many mid-west states that allow people under the age of 16 to get licences for vehicles for farming purposes? I seem to recall in some areas kids 13 or 14 could be allowed, with a special permit, to drive since then they could help their parents with the farm.Originally Posted by Captain Kidd
farm vehicles perhaps, but I don't think they can get an actual license to drive a car anymore. Seems like they used to be able to decades ago, but no longer (I think).Originally Posted by TriangleMan
No one has mentioned where Mom left the keys. I wonder if she leaves them in the car?
As far as parental neglect, driving with your kid not in their seatbelt and maybe booster seat at this age was the most conscious neglectful thing this woman did.
Not anticipating your kid getting in the car was the next worse thing she did if indeed she left the keys in the ignition.
Third down the list was anticipating your kid could get up and leave the house in the middle of the night. It's hard for me to imagine this one because NOTHING woke my son from sleep when he was that age. You could literally try to stand him up and he'd stay asleep.
However, enough toddlers have rambled the streets at night that parents should get those door buzzers or some other safety device. The buzzer doesn't inhibit fire escape so it's my first choice.
Now, with all that in mind, the additional risk the kid in the car posed to others and the seriousness of the risk to the kid needs to be considered. But thousands of kids die every year on average from accidents. So lets call all of these deaths parental neglect, not just the ones that make the news.
USA Safekid report, pdf file. Very thorough, every parent should read this.
US gun accident stats
IIRC, she had the keys on a hook in the kitchen. He knew where to find them, and how to use them (and which one to use!) to start the car.
All in all, he's being branded a very intelligent kid by the local press up here. I'd have to agree! There's a lot of things this kid has got to do, in the proper order, to drive a car!
So the hook was within reach? Not that one expects one's 4 yr old to retrieve a key and take all the other steps involved here.Originally Posted by Wally
My nephew was moving a little stool and reaching things theoretically out of his reach at 2. Its not out of line to think this one couldn't pull a chair to where he needed it, get the key, then put it back.Originally Posted by beskeptical
Nope. Insurance won't cover uninsured drivers. Last time I tried, it's hard to get insurance on a 4 year old.
Other insurance company (hit car) probably won't pay out either. If the kid was just idling, it'd probably be under the deductable any way.