Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
A Georgia man whose 22-month-old son died after allegedly having been accidentally left too long in a hot car has been charged with murder after police discovered evidence that he may have knowingly left the child strapped in his seat for hours on a day when the temperature topped out at 92 degrees. Justin Ross Harris, the arrest warrant alleges, strapped his son Cooper into his rear-facing car seat after they ate breakfast at a fast food restaurant.
Harris allegedly then drove to work at a Home Depot corporate office about a half-mile away, leaving Cooper in the car until his lunch break, at which point he reportedly visited the car to put something in the front seat. Just after 4 pm, he returned to the car and left work. Moments later, he pulled into a shopping center parking lot and called for help with Cooper, who had been in the car for seven hours by that point. The child was pronounced dead at the scene.
The story was first reported as an accidental death–and a horrifying cautionary tale for harried parents who read accounts that Harris had simply forgotten to drop Cooper off at day care. But further investigation led to the felony murder and child cruelty charges, as CNN.com reports:
“Within moments of the first responders getting to the scene and doing their job and questions began to be asked about the moments that led up to their arrival at the scene, some of those answers were not making sense to the first responders,” [Sgt. Dana] Pierce [of the Cobb County police] said.
“I’ve been in law enforcement for 34 years. What I know about this case shocks my conscience as a police officer, a father and a grandfather.”
Last week, Harris pleaded not guilty to felony murder and child cruelty charges. He’s being held without bond at the Cobb County Jail and is scheduled to appear before a county judge July 3.
Cooper’s mother, Leanna Harris, told CNN last week that she’s been advised not to discuss the case with the media.
“We have been in communication with the mother throughout the investigation. At this time, I’m not at liberty to discuss her involvement. That’s a part of the case our detectives are working on,” Pierce said.
Cobb County Medical Operations Manager Mike Gerhard confirmed that the autopsy of the child is complete, but the boy’s manner of death has not been released.
Forty-three children died from being left too long in hot cars in 2013, Parents magazine reports, and children are at greater risk than adults of overheating in a car because internal cooling systems–chiefly through sweat–are not as quick to react as adults’.
Click here to read 7 tips for ensuring you never forget your child in a hot car, including practicing extra vigilance when you are starting a new routine, and adopting a “Look Before You Lock” habit whenever you leave your car. The Parents report also shares how quickly temperatures can rise inside a closed vehicle even on a day when the weather is relatively mild:
This is how quickly the temperature inside a vehicle rises on a 70°F day, based on research by Jan Null, department of earth and climate sciences, San Francisco State University. Null also found that keeping the windows open slightly had little effect and that car interiors with darker colors heat up faster.
After 10 minutes = 89°F
After 20 minutes = 99°F
After 30 minutes = 104°F
After 60 minutes = 113°F
After 2 hours = 120°F
Image: Car door, via Shutterstock
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car safety, child safety, day care, heat, hot car, murder, routine, Safety, sweat | Categories:
Child Health, Must Read, Safety
Thursday, April 10th, 2014
A day care center near Orlando, Florida became a tragic crime scene Wednesday when a man driving an SUV forced another car off the road and crashing into the childcare building. One girl died of her injuries, and 14 others were wounded. The driver of the SUV, who has been identified as Robert Corchado, allegedly fled the scene and is at large and subject to an arrest warrant. More from CNN:
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Corchado’s Dodge Durango was found abandoned three hours after the crash.
Highway Patrol spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Monte said authorities believe Corchado, 28, was trying to flee the Orlando area.
Corchado allegedly rented another vehicle from a Winter Park car rental company on Wednesday evening, CNN affiliate WESH reported, citing law enforcement officials.
Earlier, officials told CNN they had a tip that he was at Orlando International Airport.
Twelve children and one adult were taken to four nearby hospitals, said John Mulhall, a spokesman for Orange County Fire Rescue. Two other people were treated at the scene, but Mulhall didn’t disclose whether they were children or adults.
Diaz earlier said the injuries in the 3 p.m. incident ranged from critical to minor. One child was pinned by the car, a Toyota Camry Solara convertible.
“It was tragic,” Jeezy Jenkins told CNN affiliate WKMG. He was working on a nearby roof when the accident happened.
“It was just kids on the ground and there was teachers giving CPR. It was horrible. I’ve never seen nothing like that before, and I hope I never have to see something like that again.”
The driver of the car that was forced into the day care center wasn’t injured. He waited at the scene as workers loaded his car onto a tow truck.
“We are heartbroken that several of the children in our care and an adult were injured in an accident today,” KinderCare said in a prepared statement. “We are pulling for those who have been injured to quickly recover from this tragic accident.”
Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
The cost of center-based child care exceeds the cost of tuition at state colleges in a number of states, due as much to rising child care costs as to slightly declining state college tuitions. More from CNN Money:
Last year, average center-based child care costs rose by nearly 3% nationwide, according to a report from the nonprofit Child Care Aware of America. Full-time care for an infant ranged from a high of $16,430 a year in Massachusetts to $4,863 in Mississippi. Meanwhile, center-based care for a four-year-old hit a high of $12,355 in Massachusetts and a low of $4,312 in Mississippi.
Why such huge price disparities? Blame it on differences in labor costs, state regulations and cost of living expenses, such as housing, food and utilities.
For example, Massachusetts has strict child care regulations that require one teacher for every three infants, compared to one teacher per five infants in Mississippi. Meanwhile, child care centers in New York City, among one of the most expensive places for child care in the country, pay significantly higher rents and also must meet strict state standards.
“In order to meet those (standards), it costs money,” said Jessica Klos Shapiro, public policy and communications coordinator at the nonprofit Early Care & Learning Council, which advocates for families across New York state.
The centers are also grappling with ballooning operational costs, ranging from rising insurance costs to higher food prices, said Lynette Fraga, Child Care Aware’s executive director.
As a result, child care costs grew by as much as eight times the rate of family incomes last year, the report said. And they continue to take a major chunk out of family budgets, often representing a household’s largest monthly expense.
Find out if your child’s development is on track with our handy growth charts. Then, check out the 10 BEST apps for preschoolers.
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Image: Kids at day care, via Shutterstock
Thursday, April 4th, 2013
The costs of child care have nearly doubled in the last 25 years, according to a new report based on census data. More from a release by the U.S. Census Bureau:
“Perhaps the most critical decision parents make in balancing their work and home life is choosing the type of care to provide for their children while they work,” said report author Lynda Laughlin, a family demographer in the Census Bureau’s Fertility and Family Statistics Branch. “Child care arrangements and the financial burden they impose on families are important issues for policymakers and anyone concerned about the welfare of children. This report is unique in that it is not only the sole study from the Census Bureau on this topic, but also provides a consistent time-series on trends going back to the mid-1980s.”
Families with an employed mother and children younger than 15 (see chart) paid an average of $143 per week for child care in 2011, up from $84 in 1985 (in constant 2011 dollars).
The median wage for a full-time child care worker did not increase over the last 20 years. The median wage for a child care worker in 2011 was $19,098, not different from $19,680 in 1990 (in constant 2011 dollars).
The percent of families who reported they made a cash payment for child care for at least one of their children declined from 42 percent to 32 percent between 1997 and 2011.
Since 1997, the use of organized day care centers and father-provided care for preschoolers has increased, while the proportion of children cared for by nonrelatives in the provider’s home has declined. (There was a change in the data collection methodology in the mid-1990s; 1997 was the first year of data that was affected by this change.)
Image: Girl in day care, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, January 12th, 2012
Parents who urge their child care providers to focus more on learning than on vigorous physical play may be doing their kids a disservice, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found. Nearly three-quarters of American children between ages 3 and 5 are enrolled in some sort of child care, and the study reports that most of these kids spend most of their days doing sedentary activites.
The Washington Post’s parenting blogger Janice D’Arcy interviewed the study’s lead researcher and reports:
Providers told researchers that they felt pressure from parents to keep children from vigorous play that might lead to injury and also pressure to focus instead on academics.
The third consistent barrier was financial, as some providers said their funds were too limited to purchase up-to-code safe, outdoor equipment. (An ironic twist in this finding is that providers told researchers repeatedly that these “safer” playgrounds were oftentimes the least interesting to children.)
“We were surprised to hear that parents — both low-income and upper-income — were focusing on traditional ‘academics’ (letters, numbers, colors) instead of outdoor play, even for children as young as 3 years old,” lead author Kristen Copeland of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center wrote to me in an e-mail conversation about the report.
“At this age, many children don’t know how to skip, and are still learning how to share, and how to negotiate peer relationships. Yet teachers told us that many parents wanted to know what their child ‘learned’ that day, but were not interested in whether they had gone outside, or had mastered fundamental gross motor skills,” she said.
Interestingly, the study is released at the same time as other research that showed physical fitness to be directly related to improved academic performance, a finding that should
Richard Rende, Parents.com’s child psychology blogger, offered the following advice to parents who want to avoid sedentary habits in their children: “If you want to promote the optimal development and health of your toddler, make sure they have plenty of time for free play and physical activity. Convince yourself that this will be as important – if not more so – than the ‘academics’ they are learning during the preschool years. And do what you can to make sure they get it.”
Image: Preschool girl reading, via Shutterstock.
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