Tag Archives: hot-car deaths

Lessons in Parenting

“Judgment of Solomon” by Raphael (c. 1510), Apostolic Palace, Rome (PD-Art, Old-100)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

  • Cynthia Randolph deliberately shut her toddlers, aged 16 months and 24 months, in a hot car to “teach them a lesson” for not leaving the car when she wanted [1]. Believing the toddlers could get themselves out, Randolph went into the house, smoked some marijuana, and slept for 2-3 hours.  The temperature outside that Texas day reached 96 degrees.  The toddlers did not survive.  Randolph is being held on $200,000 bond.
  • Aramazd Andressian killed his 5 y.o. son “Piqui” after a trip to Disneyland [2]. Andressian and the boy’s mother had been in the midst of a highly contested divorce.  Andressian alternately threatened to take the boy to Cuba, Iran, or Armenia.  The child’s body was found after a two-month search involving rescue personnel, volunteers, and cadaver dogs.  Andressian has since pleaded guilty.

The majority of child victims who die at the hands of their parents are under five years of age [3].  More than a third are under the age of one.  Men murder six out of ten of these children, most often by beating or shooting them.

To “Teach Them a Lesson”

Some 700 children have died in hot cars in the last 20 years [4].  Over half the time, these children were forgotten by their caregivers.  About 17% of the time, children were intentionally left in the car by an adult, as was the case with the Randolph toddlers.

One might be tempted to blame Cynthia Randolph’s stupidity for her children’s deaths (raising the possibility of an affirmative defense of diminished capacity).  But Randolph was capable of devising several stories, in an effort to exculpate herself, before disclosing the facts.  The deaths have been ruled homicides [5].

It would seem that Cynthia Randolph is the one who would have benefited from lessons.

Self-Centeredness

Aramazd Andressian went a step further.  He killed his son from sheer self-centeredness. The vast majority of “family annihilators”, i.e. those who kill their immediate family, are men [6].  These men come from all backgrounds.  Most show no outward signs that violence is imminent.

It may be that Andressian did not distinguish between his son and himself.  Perhaps he could not envision a future for the boy without him.  This is selfishness in the guise of altruism.  Or perhaps Andressian simply wanted to inflict maximum pain on his wife. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Violence Against Women

Precious Cargo

Baby carseat, Author Snibban (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Twenty-three young children so far this year have died after being left in locked cars by their caregivers [1].  The average is 133 per year [2].

The majority of these deaths were unintended.  Intended or not, the temperature in a locked car – even a light-colored car with the windows partly open – can rise to 125 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes [3].

The signs of heat stroke include hot, dry skin; dehydration; and extremely high fever.  Even healthy babies are at risk for heat stroke.  In a moderately warm environment, babies in good health may already run a temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

As humidity rises, perspiration (the primary cooling mechanism of the body) becomes less effective.  In babies, clothing, cushioned seats, and the placement of an infant carrier below window-level further reduce evaporation.

There are devices available and in development to remind a parent or guardian of the baby in the backseat.  These range in price from $25 and up.  Women can, also, make a habit of placing their handbags in the backseat (adjacent to the baby).  Few women will leave a car without first retrieving their handbag.

Nothing can replace mindfulness of the precious cargo we carry.

[1]  ABC 7 – Eyewitness News,  “Number of Child Hot-Car Deaths in 2016 Reaches 23”, 7/28/16,  http://abc7.com/family/number-of-child-hot-car-deaths-in-2016-reaches-23/1445637/.

[2]  Thingamababy, “A Look at Three Child Car Heat Death Safety Devices”, 7/19/07, http://www.thingamababy.com/baby/2007/07/babysafety.html.

[3]  Injury Prevention, “Heat Exposure in an Enclosed Automobile” by Lynn Gibbs, David Lawrence, and Mel Kohn, MD (reprinted from Journal of the Louisiana State Medical Society, Vol. 147 (12) 1995), http://www.injuryprevention.org/states/la/hotcars/hotcars.htm.

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Filed under Child Abuse, Neglect