Thursday, July 24, 2008

Help me understand

Two French toddlers died of heat exhaustion when their fathers allegedly forgot they were strapped in child seats in the back of their cars as they went to work.

Both cases involve middle-class men, described as devoted and loving parents, who appear to have forgotten their children in an inexplicable lapse of concentration.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that a three-year-old girl had died from heatstroke and dehydration after spending the day locked in her father's vehicle in the car park at the factory where he had a managerial post.

The outside temperature was no more than 77 degrees, which is relatively low for southern France during the summer. Inside the car, it rose to 113 degrees, according to fire officers.

When the unidentified man finally noticed his daughter, he drove directly to the local fire and ambulance station but rescue workers were unable to revive her.

“We have not been able to question the father. He is still in a very disturbed psychological state,” said Thierry Bas, the state prosecutor in nearby Chalon-sur-Saône.

The incident came seven days after a two-year-old boy died in similar circumstances in Pont-de-Chéruy, also in eastern France.

A passer-by found Yannis strapped into the baby seat in the family vehicle after being left for about three hours by Eric Allarousse, 38, his father. The outside temperature was between 77 and 80 degrees.

Allarousse, who owns a pharmacy, told detectives he had forgotten his son after witnessing a traffic accident after lunch on July 15.

OK. Tragic. No question. A toddler should not lose its life this way.

But, for the life of me, I cannot understand how a person forgets they have their child in the car. It seems impossible. But, I certainly don't believe these people did this on purpose. So, it must be true. But, how? I find myself wanting to scold the parents for being idiots, but is that fair?


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