WTVM 9/8/14 Editorial: Parental responsibility and hot car deaths

WTVM 9/8/14 Editorial: Parental responsibility and hot car deaths

(WTVM) - By now you've no doubt heard that Justin Harris, the Atlanta father who left his infant son in a hot car all day, has been indicted on multiple counts of murder.

In Baltimore, another father named John Junek has been charged with involuntary manslaughter for leaving his baby to die in a parked car, too.

[READ ALSO: Maryland father charged in boy's death in hot car]

In that lesser-known case, investigators say Junek even used his vehicle later in the day to go to a meeting, lowering the windows and turning on the air conditioning because of the hot temperatures. But he said he never noticed the boy inside.

You may remember that Harris also returned to his car during his workday but also claims not to have noticed his boy sweltering to death inside.

These two cases could signal a shift in how law enforcement deals with these kinds of cases of parents whose children die a horrible death.

While the vast majority of these cases are pure accidents, perhaps more vigorous investigations -along with the publicity these criminal cases create - could end up being a deterrent to other parents.

Even the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration says public awareness trumps high tech warning devices, which the government says create liability issues because those products can fail.

So if awareness is the goal, perhaps the recent high profile cases of parents charged with a crime for leaving their baby in the car will give parents yet another reason to remember their precious cargo in the back seat.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to WTVM Editorial Committee or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee
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