Years ago when I was an emergency-room nurse in New Orleans, a woman came rushing through the ER doors with a bloodied toddler in her arms. She was attempting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, unfortunately to no avail. This woman, the child’s aunt, had backed out of her driveway and hit the 2-year-old, who had run behind her car. We took the child from the grieving aunt, carried him to an examining room and stood aside as a doctor pronounced him dead. We bathed his tiny body, dressed him in a child’s hospital gown and bandaged his head so his parents – who were rushing to the hospital after a frantic call from the aunt – wouldn’t have to see the damage to their baby.
Forty-five years later, this memory – this nightmare – is still with me. What did I learn from this experience? I learned never to start my car without checking for children nearby. In fact, if there were young children outside, whether my own or a neighbor’s, I would put them inside my car while I backed up. I did this each and every time I got in my car. When my grandchildren are at my home, I do it still.
Why do I tell you this story? I am so sad when I read of a death of a child. When Jaidyn Williams was hit while crossing to his school bus (“Boy, 8, hit by minivan dies,” Dec. 27), the above memory came back to me in a flash. What can be done to prevent such tragedies? Maybe something very simple. Have school bus drivers get off their buses and serve as crossing guards when children must cross the road to board. Arguments that it would take too much time, or it would be extra work for drivers, or – well, just fill in the blanks – are trivial. Just do it. Please.
My thoughts and prayers are with the Williams family. I pray that one day they’ll have peace in their hearts knowing their child is where we all strive to be – at the right hand of God. And I pray for the man who is accused of causing this tragedy. Just as the aunt in my story, who surely never got over the fact that she killed her toddler nephew, this man might carry this nightmare with him for the rest of his life.
Susan P. Mucha