Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Saturday, August 06, 2016

A Tragedy for Which There is no Solace 

"I think possibly alcohol was a factor in some of his decisions that day, and maybe played a factor in this."
"[A man accompanying Asa North had been heavily drinking and] we believe the father had been drinking that day also."
"The neighbours heard some screaming -- I guess coming from the father -- and saw him running around back with the two children."
Carrollton police Capt. Chris Dobbs, Georgia

"I guess he forgot about the kids and left them in the car. He should have took care of them kids better than that, what he did."
"He should have never been in the house asleep He should have got the kids out of the car the time he got out of the car, you know."
Donnie Holland, uncle of Ariel and Alaynah North

"The biggest mistake people make is thinking that it can’t happen to them. Everyone should practice those safety measures [looking in the backseat each time you get out of the car and putting something you need in your backseat — your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or briefcase — to ensure that you will check], and do whatever they have to do to remind themselves to check the backseat."
"You can’t buy a car (today) that doesn’t turn your headlights off for you or remind you to turn off your headlights. And the question just begging to be answered is, who has decided it’s more important not to have a dead car battery than a dead baby? And I don’t say that to be harsh or sensational. It’s just a fact."
Janet Fennell, founder of KidsAndCars
According to Janet Fennell before this latest tragedy, in the United States 24 children have so far died in 2016 as a result of having been left in hot cars, a figure that is almost twice the number of young children who perished at this time last year. The average year sees 37 children die from heat stroke while locked in a vehicle. Children under age three represent 87% percent of those whose lives end so tragically, their presence in a car forgotten and left in the stifling oppression of heat that asphyxiates them.

And this is precisely the tragedy that overtook fifteen-month old twins, Ariel and Alaynah North in Carrollton, Georgia yesterday evening. Two children gone, in a space of a few hours of excruciating discomfort, pain and helplessness. Vulnerable because they were unable to speak for themselves, vulnerable because the parent tasked with their care and security was incapable of fulfilling that vital parental function.

Temperatures registered above 32C by the time police were alerted on Thursday at half-past six in the evening. The children's father, 24 year-old Asa, has been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of reckless conduct, according to Carroll County jail records. The children's mother was in Atlanta at the time, visiting her sister at Grady Memorial Hospital, a victim of a serious car crash the day previous.

Neighbours of the family were alerted to something gone horribly awry when they heard screams. The children's father had suddenly realized the situation, rushed to the front of his home to his parked sports utility vehicle where he found his children unresponsive. He carried them frantically toward a child's inflatable pool in the back of the house where he and neighbours attempted to revive the toddlers.

When police arrived they performed CPR to no avail. The twins were pronounced dead on arrival at hospital. Autopsies will be conducted at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime crime lab. These grieving parents have the unenviable distinction of a future of living their lives knowing their infants represented the 25th and 26th American children to have died in overheated vehicles in 2016.

Below is a summary of the information has been gathering for over a decade.
  • Child vehicular heat stroke deaths for 2016: 26
  • Child vehicular heat stroke deaths for 2015: 25 
  • Child vehicular heat stroke deaths for 2014:  32
  • Child vehicular heat stroke deaths for 2013:  44
  • Child vehicular heat stroke deaths for 2012:  35
  • Child vehicular heat stroke deaths for 2011: 33
  • Child vehicular heat stroke deaths for 2010:  49
  • Child vehicular heat stroke deaths 1990- 2015: 755
    Average #of deaths per year since 1998: 37 (one every 9 days)
    Highest # of fatalities for a one-year time period - 2010: 49

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