Drivers. check for children

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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


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corgimom 01/03/14 - 12:07 am
Drivers can't do it because

Drivers can't do it because they are not allowed to leave students unsupervised on the bus.

And having the driver walk the children across the road won't stop someone from running the flashing red lights.

Back in the old days, they could- but in today's climate, it's not possible. It is considered criminal negligence to leave children unsupervised, because now with all the disturbed, out of control kids that go to school, the kids on the bus aren't safe without supervision.

deestafford 01/03/14 - 07:45 am
Even though the writer's heart is in the right place...

Even though the writer's heart is in the right place and I agree with the first half of the letter the school bus driver suggestion is impractical. It would more than double the time it takes for the bus driver to make the trip. This is especially true today when school buses seem to be stopping for children with distances as little as 100 yards between stops. When I went to school in the 50's it had to be a minimum 1/2 mile between stops.

Of course, the comeback to my criticism could be, "Well, if it saves the life of only one child it'll be worth it." Unfortunately, that is not always the case. It's like saying saying putting the speed limit on interstates at 55 mph rather than 70 mph will save lives. If that is true why not put it at 35 mph and save more lives? It's just not practical.

Gary Ross
Gary Ross 01/03/14 - 08:59 am
Stop for pedestrians in crosswalk

Probably the stupidest law ever passed. This somehow gives the idiot pedestrians the "right" to step out into traffic, jaywalk, etc. expecting everyone to honor their presents. I see it every day in Buckhead, and sometimes those idiots get hit! Ms. Mucha, although your intentions are in the right place, your suggestion will only make things worse. The true answer lies in the old fashioned value of teaching children and idiots alike to look both ways before crossing the road!

david jennings
david jennings 01/03/14 - 09:41 am
Unfortunately there is no 100%

However, we cannot give up striving for it. What a heart wrenching story, and noble and honorable your efforts Ms. Mucha. This happened right out front of my Mother' residence. Also the incident where the doctor died in the bicycle accident. This section of Belair is just as dangerous as all the roads around this town. The speed limit is 40mph. I traverse this road very often and seldom does it take long before another vehiclle is on my bumper. I am aware speed was not necessarily a factor here , I believe as drivers we need to adopt a more defensive attitude than offensive, learn the differance between the two. Life is really fragile. As before, my prayers to all involved.

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