November 28, 2005
This month has been a busy one for headlines that could have been
"November 11, 2005
There were some frightening moments for a Denver family Friday afternoon
when they left their car running with their little girl inside and
the vehicle was stolen from in front of their house. The theft occurred
at about 2:15 p.m. ... Fortunately, the car thief noticed the extra
passenger and six minutes later, dropped the 1-year-old girl off
in front of a home about a half-mile away ... The girl was found
safe and reunited with her family. ..."
It was broad daylight.
The car was parked right in front of their house. Fortunately, the
girl was found safe. Unfortunately, this story is not unique. How
could this incident have been avoided?
'"Police say cars
that are left out in the open with the engine running are easy targets,
but it's a common practice, especially during winter months when
drivers like to warm up their cars in front of their homes. 'You
go out, you start your car off. People are doing this all the time,
not thinking that they're going to leave their kid in their car...
They run in to get something and then all of a sudden, boom. Gone
in just a second, your car is gone, your child is gone and you're
horrified,' said Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson. Police say
they are going to order the parents to go into the police station
to talk about child neglect and child abuse issues before they decide
if charges are warranted in this case."
This family will likely
learn from its mistake. Maybe, as others hear about this incident,
parents, older siblings, and babysitters across the country will
consider what might happen before leaving a young child alone in
a car. Do those who witness and/ or hear about tragedy learn from
the mistakes of others?
"A Metra express train
slammed into five cars trapped in rush-hour traffic at an Elmwood
Park crossing Wednesday night, causing a thunderous chain reaction
that tore apart vehicles and left 16 people injured, three critically.
... Residents and Elmwood Park officials said the crossing on Grand
Avenue has long been problematic, with motorists routinely trying
to squeeze across the tracks as the gates are coming down. The train
crosses four-lane Grand Avenue at an angle, making the crossing
Some cars were damaged,
others totaled. Some occupants of the cars were injured. Others,
realizing that they could not move their cars to safety, left their
cars on the tracks and fled on foot from the oncoming train. How
could this incident have been avoided?
"Signs above the crossing
warn motorists: 'Long Crossing. Do Not Stop on Tracks.' Witnesses
said eastbound traffic was gridlocked from the traffic light all
the way back across the tracks. The distance between the light and
the tracks is several car lengths. 'There's warning signs all over
the place that they shouldn't cross,' said Elmwood Park Mayor Peter
Silvestri. 'But if the traffic is backed up, they'll continue to
go across tracks when they shouldn't.' ... Cindy Zahn, 46, who owns
a hair salon about a half block west of the crossing, said ... 'It's
not unusual for cars to be stuck on the tracks,' she said. 'The
bottom line is that there's too much traffic on Grand Avenue and
there's nowhere for the cars to go.'"
This is not the first time
there has been an accident at this crossing. The following day,
eyewitness accounts were reporting that within hours of the crossing's
reopening, cars were once again sitting on the tracks as they waited
for the light to change... Do those who witness and/ or hear about
tragedy learn from the mistakes of others?
"(CNN) -- The bodies
of a father and his 9-year-old daughter were pulled from an ice-covered
pond in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin, on Friday, hours after they fell
through, authorities said. Authorities suspect the girl fell through
to the icy water while skating and her 44-year-old father fell through
the ice while trying to pull her out, Sheboygan County Sheriff Michael
Helmke said. The girl's sister, 6, witnessed the incident and ran
to a nearby house to get help. 'We were unable to make a rescue,'
Helmke said. ..."
Every year stories of children
(and adults) falling through thin ice make the news. Every year,
those who live in (or visit) regions of the country with frozen
lakes and ponds are reminded of the risks. Unfortunately, these
reminders often come with tragic stories attached.
"The ice was about
3 inches thick -- thinner in some areas -- and the pond was between
8- and 10-feet deep, authorities said. Solid ice 2-inches thick
can support one person on foot or skates, according to data available
on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Web site. The accident was the
second of the day in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. Earlier Friday
police rescued an 11-year-old boy from a pond in Waldo after he
went through the ice on his all-terrain vehicle, according to the
sheriff's office. ... The temperature in the region early Friday
afternoon was about 22 degrees."
It was 22 degrees outside
(certainly below freezing).
"The ice was about
3 inches thick -- thinner in some areas..."
Skating, traveling on an
ATV, or even just walking, it can be difficult to detect where those
areas of thinner ice are before you are in the middle of them. That
said, How could these incidents have been avoided?
Questions of the Week:
What other examples can you think of where people take chances in
their day to day lives and assume that all will work out for the
best? What examples can you think of where people do things without
even taking time to consider the what might go wrong? In what circumstances
do you (or people you know) think twice before doing something because
of what might happen? When should people alter their decisions based
upon, "What if...?" Where is the balance between making
safe choices that consider the consequences, and being paranoid?
Is it ever okay to be "paranoid"? If so, when? If not,
Please email me with any ideas or suggestions.
Note: Due to increasing amounts of SPAM sent to this account, please include "QOW" in the subject line when sending me email.
I look forward to reading
what you have to say.
Health Community Coordinator
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum