A 14-month-old boy was crawling in the road after wandering out of his house. Rachel Downey was driving by and spotted the tot. She “slammed on the brakes”, got out of the car and stood in the road to keep anyone else from accidentally hitting the child.
Downey scooped up the boy and walked towards a house with an open door. The little boy’s 9-year-old girl sister came running out to grab him. She was understandably upset.
So what happened?
The mother, who was not named in published reports, had asked the sister to bring the little boy downstairs and put him in a playpen. She put him on the couch instead, and “the toddler spotted the open door and took off,” according to AOL ParentDish. The door had reportedly been left open by a construction worker.
A neighbor who was interviewed on WHIO-TV in Ohio said, “If you’re a parent, I’m sure it’s happened to you before.” I’m not going to label the mom as “Worst Parent of the Year,” but I will say that one of my worst nightmares is having my youngest wander out of our apartment. That’s why I always lock the door, especially the top lock that he can’t reach. I’m hoping that by the time he’s old enough to reach that one, he’ll know enough not to go exploring on his own.
There’s also the issue of the 9-year-old sister being given the responsibility to put her brother in the playpen downstairs. I’ve never been in that situation. I don’t think I would give a 9-year-old that kind of responsibility, but I know that a lot of people do and it works out fine. While the big sister clearly made a mistake, to me the bigger sin is the open door. That is, if it had been locked, this wouldn’t have happened. (“If Woody had gone straight to the police...” A show of hands if you get that reference.)
What do you think? Was the mother irresponsible, or is this just one of those things?