Thursday, 18 February 2010

Footwell

Even if you put the seat belt around you both.
Even if you hold on to her as tightly as you can.
Even if you think you're only driving down the road.
It's a stupid thing to do.
*
When we come to get you out of your car.
When we have to cut the roof off, and you out of it.
When we think that a five-seat car only has five passengers.
It's a horrible thing to be proved wrong.
*
As the noise of the cutters finally stops.
As the chaos of the rescue comes to an end.
As the ambulances start to take you all away.
It's a dreadful thing to hear your scream.
*
Just when we thought that you were all safe.
Just when we thought it was time to leave.
Just when we thought that all the harm was already done.
It's a moment of horror as we find there's one more.
*
And she lies there, in the foot well, as if she's asleep.
And she lies there, in the foot well, no lap keeping her still.
And she lies there, in the foot well, killed by the one sworn to protect her.
It's then that you realise. But by then it's too late.

14 comments:

Ckemtp said...

I'll never understand why some people choose to hold their child in the car. Do they not understand the danger? Do they not understand basic physics? Do they not understand that one minute of safety can prevent a lifetime of anguish?

I don't feel sorry for the parents.. They made their choice against all rationality. The kids? Well I cry sometimes.

Another word on this. Leaving your pets unsecured will kill them too. Your cute little purse puppy will become a projectile in the lightest of crashes. They don't fare well.

Anonymous said...

also scares me when people, intelligent professional people, who wouldn't DREAM of putting their kids on their laps in the UK, seem to not be bothered about it when hiring a car on holiday... sure, the car seats you get through a car hire firm might not be the top of the range, impact tested from an HGV hitting your car at the speed of light - but they're a lot better than nothing.

Shelagh said...

I had a childminder once who thought I was "over-reacting" when I found out that she had taken my 2 yo son in a car and had him on her lap with the belt around them both and spoke to her about it. It was quite hard to talk to her rationally about it because I was so angry I actually wanted to thump her!

Loui said...

That was actually quite a scary, sickening and heart wrenching thing to read. But necessary. What I never understand is why someone pulls the seat belt, as though they are putting it on, and then just hold it rather than secure it in place. Just because you're hold of it, doesn't make it safe.

Anonymous said...

This is almost a carbon copy of a job i've done. It was years ago. It will haunt me till the day I die, especially the look on the parent's faces at hosp. Once told their precious child could not be saved. The precious child that was unrestrained in the back seat. To this day, whenever I see children climbing all over the seats, stood in the middle or not belted up it makes me so angry! Do these irresponsible parents who lose their children like this get charged with manslaughter?! So so sad. SLM

EMT GFP said...

I nearly cried, as this was so hard to read. What is sad is that we try to educate, try to let parents know, but there are times when it simply does not sink in.

If only they would listen, if only they would remember, then no one would have to cry.

molliemallone said...

I really do believe that parents who are caught failing to secure their children in a proper car seat / seat belt should be charged with child neglect, end of story. It makes my blood boil, especially when you see the parents safely strapped in their front seats with the kids free to roam along the back seat, ignorant b******s (the parents that is).

InsomniacMedic said...

For the sake of keeping it honest - I have to admit that I didn't see this as part of my Ambulance career, but whilst I was in the Army. I was first on scene then too, but at least with a full military medical team alongside. The images are still vivid to this day...
I just wish that these parents who claim that their children are everything to them, would prove it in one simple act of love and caring.

Eileen said...

Here in Italy I see just that at least once a week - a small child sitting on the parent's knee, usually in the front seat. In the country that supposedly almost worships their children.
And then there are the parents whose excuse is "but they don't like sitting in the seat". Sorry - but what has THAT got to do with price of butter? When mine were small, if I thought they had wriggled out of their restraint I stopped and refused to go anywhere until they were suitably seated.
Molliemalone: definitely, except maybe it should be even stronger, attempted murder springs to mind.
Mind you - after a lifetime of ensuring they were belted up, I was stopped by the police one day after picking my older daughter and a friend up after work. I'd said "belts on?" as usual as I pulled away but they hadn't bothered. I got such a lecture - despite the fact both were over 18 so at that time it wasn't in fact my responsibility.

Mrs RRD said...

Really beautifully written, so haunting. I agree with all the previous comments, I'm sure none of the people who happily travel with unrestrained children would dream of putting a valuable glass vase on the back seat to tumble around, why do they do it with their children?

mrs p said...

it sickens me so much that i have been known to stop the ambulance and have a polite chat to the parents of "loose" children only to be told the usual, no excuse! you don't know what's round that corner!

clt2213 said...

As a nurse I've seen this too many times to count. To the parents who say their babies don't like carseats: #1. Who cares. They're kids. We are supposed to love them and make decisions for them to benefit their health and safety. If they cry,oh well, at least they're safe. #2. You can't miss what you don't know. If they're buckled up from birth on, then they don't know that there is any other option. In fact, there is no other option. When i worked in Ok. ER staff had cards to hand out to anyone interested. The cards were to be filled out by any driver who saw a non-restrained child. You just filled in the tag number of the car, a minimum acct of what you saw, and dropped the postage-paid card in the mail. The card went directly to the state police who would issue a warning for first time offenders. If they recieved more than one card for the same vehicle/family, tickets were issued. This was wonderful and encouraged public responsibilty. It takes a village to ensure the safety of all our children. The program was quite a success.

Jumblerant said...

Been there,
Seen it
Would never do it.

With adults I always think about natural selection weeding out those who should not add to the gene pool.

But kids? Its not their fault that the person holding them is backwards.

50 kmh / 30 mph crash of head against seat in front is equivalent force as dropping a watermelon from a third storey window. Your head might survive, but probably not.

Silly Safety Girl said...

This post just reminded me of something I buried deep down somewhere. When I was a kid (probably 7 or 8) I was walking home from school and a little girl got hit by a car. The little girl was probably about 2 or 3, I don't know why she was playing on the road. Rather than call an ambulance or put her safely in a car, her mother put her on her lap, no seat belt at all, and tore off to the hospital. Even as a kid I was horrified.