Five children, ranging in age from two to 13 years old, died in a horrific car accident on the way to a water park yesterday. They were riding in an SUV crammed with ten children total and two adults. There weren't enough seats for all 12 passengers. And it pains me to add that there were no car seats, either. Not even for the two-year-old.
The SUV rolled several times on its way down an encampment and nine of the children were thrown from the car. These kids piled into the car at the beginning of the day, looking forward to a day of fun. And they trusted the adults to get them to the water park safely. Those adults failed them -- tragically.
I can see how all this must have happened. Lord knows I traveled this way a time or two when I was a kid. You, too? I think seat belts and child seats and car safety in general was popularized sometime in the 1980s. Before that, it was practically anything goes. You'd see kids riding in the back of pickup trucks -- on the freeway. Maybe you used your seat belt, maybe you didn't. And with families carpooling it was sometimes practically a contest to see how many kids you could fit into a car. You were just being frugal and practical.
Not so anymore. We know better, now. I'm sure the adults in that SUV (a GMC Envoy) on the way to the water park thought nothing would go wrong. They were in a big, protective truck. It was convenient to take just one car to the water park. They probably had child seats, but pulled them out to make room for more kids. Who knows if anyone was using a seat belt. But obviously none of us can afford this kind of "convenience." Our children's lives are worth much, much more.
Have you ever attempted to drive with more kids in the car than you have seats?
Image via bsabarnowl/Flickr