Free-Range Kids

2-Year-Old Falls Out of Vehicle After Car Seat Mishap. The Kid Is Fine. Mom Could Be Headed to Jail.

Maimuna Hassan made a common mistake. Should that be a crime?

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Carseat
Melpomenem / Dreamstime

There but for the grace of God go I, and anyone who has ever used a car seat wrong: A Minnesota mom strapped her child into a car seat, but somehow didn't manage to strap the seat to the car. Then, the car door opened, either because it wasn't slammed shut all the way or somehow the child opened it. Result? As mom drives, the car door opens, and the child, in her car seat, falls out.

Another driver witnessed what happened and scooped the child up—who's fine, thank god. The mother turned around, came back in hysterics, and was slapped with child endangerment charges.

Accotding to Yahoo News:

Maimuna Hassan, 40, faces a gross misdemeanor charge of child endangerment, a permit violation misdemeanor charge and a petty misdemeanor charge for child passenger restraint not fastened, according to a criminal complaint from Blue Earth County, Minnesota. The child endangerment charge carries up to one year in jail and a $3,000 fine, or both, and the other two charges carry up to 90 days or a $1,000 fine or both.

On the one hand, yes, this child was endangered. On the other hand, by the time you are strapping your child into a car seat, you are not a reckless, devil-may-care parent. One study found that up to 93 percent of new parents don't secure their kids in those confounding car seats correctly. And 75 percent of parents turn their kids face-forward too soon. Doing that kind of thing does not make us bad parents. That makes us humans, confused by something that is not inherently user-friendly.

A friend who has a PhD in education just told me that she remembers a time when her daughter was one and she drove for an hour before realizing that she'd neglected to actually buckle the kid in.

That that Minnesota child was perfectly fine is thanks, ironically, to her mom dutifully having strapped her into the protective car seat. To treat a mistake like a crime is the kind of reaction that does not take into account reality. It's like when cops charge parents with negligence because their 3-year-old suddenly learned to unlock the front door and let himself out in the middle of the night, or because an 8-year-old ditched Sunday School and went to the Dollar Store. Parenting is impossible to do perfectly. To imagine that parents can and must never make a single misjudgment or mistake turns all parents into potential criminals just because they are human, not because they are evil, cruel or careless.

The comments below the article very much tended toward a burn the witch! mentality. The one thing that she did consciously do wrong was drive on a learner's permit, not a full license. In a country where it's hard to get around without a car, I can understand the desperation, but still, the state licenses drivers for a reason.

Be that as it may, the consequences she might face—including a year or more in jail and a possible $5,000 in fines—are hardly going to make her children safer. With mom in jail or in debt, they are not better off. Hassan coud have been let off with a warning and a mandate to attend one of those car seat safety clinics that are ubiquitous precisely because car seats are confusing to us all.

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  1. We’d all be safer if Government Almighty fined us every day, for every dollar that we have to our name, since we all do wrong things every day. “We are all sinners in the Eyes of Government Almighty”, righty, righty? AND Government Almighty can spend that money on our behalf, better than we can, anyway, right?

    1. Well, they could fund more child seat belt inspectors.

    2. Didn’t James Comey establish there needs to be intent?

  2. Well shit happens and sometimes people die because of it. And on top of that, you can’t make people be more careful.

  3. Also, car seats being “confusing” is a bullshit excuse no matter who you are. They really aren’t some kind of crazy Rube Goldberg device.

    1. BS. My toddler niece was strapped into a car seat and I was supposed to get her out.

      There was some special combination of pushes and clicks to undo her “seatbelt” strap that I was not informed about and was not readily apparent.

      The kid saw me taking more than 30 seconds and popped it herself.

      I laughed when telling this story to my sister because we both have fallen out of a moving car as kids because we fucked with the door open latch. Different time but kids still know how to almost kill themselves.

      1. There was some special combination of pushes and clicks to undo her “seatbelt” strap that I was not informed about and was not readily apparent.

        And? You couldn’t figure it out therefore everyone needs some special car seat training to be able to work them?

        1. Poor SparkY, cannot admit publicly when things dont work out for him perfectly.

          It must suck to always be scared of what others think.

          1. Are you trying to say that because I know how to properly secure a car seat and have never had a problem with one while you struggled I must be lying?

            Your insecurity is not unbelievable.

            1. You dont have kids, so you’re lying like you always do.

              Since this is a new sock for you, actually, this might be your first lie with this sock.

          2. Interesting how you dodge telling questions so readily, and troll is your favorite word.

            1. Trolls like YOU alphabet troll love to enter with a back up to another troll.

              Very telling.

              1. Fuck off, statist!

          3. “Poor SparkY, cannot admit publicly when things dont work out for him perfectly.”

            However reluctantly, I’ll have to give you credit for this one.

            You freely admitted publicly that you weren’t as smart or capable as a toddler.

      2. My kid learned how to unfasten the car seat early, too. So I had to teach her not to unfasten the buckles when the vehicle was moving.

    2. Which is why the police/sheriff/fire department hold “We’ll inspect the installation of your child’s car seat” events every few months–and report that a substantial proportion are NOT installed correctly. The parents who care enough to try to make sure things are safe for their kids–and come to a special event to do so–are all just STOOPID, eh?

      1. Yes

        1. Most of the “doing it wrong” cited involves failing to connect the anchor strap to the permanent anchor on the underside of the seat. It gets overlooked because adults have no use for these, and therefore are often blissfully unaware of their existence. They’re clearly marked in the car seat’s instructions, and the car manual, but… RTFM? I don’t think so!

      2. Why would anyone go to a police station without being under arrest?

        This tells me that police have (1) too much money to hold these “events” and (2) they have too many personnel to be there for this “event” instead of patrolling or doing actual law enforcement tasks.

        1. I’m fine with police or fire departments or whoever holding these events. It’s a legit public safety concern. I’d rather they be helping people than harassing drug users and drivers.

        2. This. Do not ever let a police officer inspect your car unless they have reasonable cause. That they could find three crimes to charge her with for a single mistake means they could probably find 4 or 5 more charges when looking at the car. “I don’t see a trash bag in your car. Litter fine!”

          On the other hand, here in California, the same service is offered by fire departments, which sorta makes sense. They have to be at the station, but often do not have calls to be on, so it is a good way to fill down time. Still, I read a story a few years back that even trained personnel have a troublingly high rate of installing seats incorrectly.

          Finally, it is terrible that we are criminalizing mistakes. When we had our first daughter, the seating recommendations around when you should make them forward facing, moved to a booster, etc all changed 3-5 times in a period of two years.

          This mom was not being negligent, she just configured a safety device wrong. In a sane world, the police would say, “Here is how you do it right!” and maybe a local news piece explaining the right way to do things, and we’d be done. Instead we are blowing money and time dragging a mom through the legal system.

      3. In tucson they wont let you even leave the hospital post birth without inspecting the seat. Is this not the usual thing to do?

        1. You cannot sit in the backseat with your baby in your arms while someone else drives you home?

          Why people think hospitals have some legal authority over you is incredible.

          You simply walk out of the hospital and self-check out.

          1. No. Driving with a baby in your arms is literally one of the dumbest things you could do.

            1. Driving with a baby in your arms is literally one of the dumbest things you could do.

              Right behind giving birth in a Tucson hospital apparently.

              1. Random and idiotic non sequitur.

          2. “You simply walk out of the hospital”

            Very few babies can walk when they leave the hospital.

            1. That’s because we coddle the little bastards. Back in MY day babies could walk, run, AND fly immediately upon exiting the hospital! Kids these days…

          3. The problem nowadays is the hospital calls the police and you get arrested for child endangerment. Then CPS takes the kid away from you because you ‘left the hospital against recommendations’ – ignoring that its a recommendation.

          4. Because you can’t reproduce without a hospital.

            And > $20k in charges.

        2. “In tucson they wont let you even leave the hospital post birth without inspecting the seat. Is this not the usual thing to do”

          It is the universal thing to do.

          The hospital can be held liable if they do not.

          The baby is a patient.

          They are responsible until you drive off the property.

      4. You don’t have to wait for an event. Stop by any fire station and they will help you install your car seat.

    3. Yeah, actually they are pretty close to a Rube Goldberg device. They are a clumsy attempt to retrofit a safety feature into another device (the car) which was not properly designed for its purpose. As the article above points out, the very ubiquity of all those special classes taught by local cops on how to properly install the seats is all the proof you need that they are neither simple nor intuitive to use properly. No competent engineer would call that an elegant solution.

      I will note that I was able to install the kid seats in my car but I have a degree in Physics, advanced training in engineering and above average mechanical aptitude. My wife, a highly educated and experienced emergency room nurse, could not. Luckily, we were able to afford two of the [expletive redacted] devices so she never had to move them.

      1. They are standard due to the now fed required standard car seat hooks. They arent confusing at all.

        Is this a nation of idiots?!?

        1. Some people just dont use seatbelts no matter how the government wants to force you to.

          I also litter every time that I am in California and use plastic straws.

          I bought a ton of bump stocks and sold them online before the federal ban.

          This is fun.

          1. I don’t care I’d you dont use seatbelts, but you should be held liable for negligent crimes. Even libertarians believe this. It’s not freedom to be a dumbfuck, its waiting to charge you until your dumbfuckery causes harm. A baby falling out of a car is harm. You are expected to be competent and care for the child. We dont allow parents to abuse their kids negligently or on purpose. Saying that libertarians are okay with allowing parents to decide to harm their kids is idiotic.

            1. A baby falling out of a car is harm.

              No, it’s not. One baby falling out of one moving car and getting physically hurt may be harm. Ten babies falling out of 10 moving cars and getting physically hurt is getting towards definitive harm. 900,000 out of 1,000,000 babies falling out of moving cars and getting hurt is probably harmful. You’re conflating marginal risk with absolute harm.

              1. No he’s not. You’re just trying to conflate the issues here.

                Failing to do the child seat right leads to a 100% probability that IF someone falls out of the car, it’s gonna be the child NOT the adult. So the burden to install everything right is entirely on the adult – the consequences of failure to do that are entirely on the child. THAT is the harm per se.

                Trying to quantify the COST of that harm will involve probabilities and numbers of events and other stuff. And that cost may well be what is important in choosing from among different options (eg cost/benefit analysis) to reduce the harm. But failing to understand the harm itself and to distinguish the harm from the cost of the harm leads only to denying the existence of the harm in most cases.

                1. 100% probability that IF someone falls out of the car

                  So, 100% unconditional or the marginal risk of 45 deaths per 45 billion miles traveled?

                  I freely admit, you put a conditional statement on your risk that I don’t have stats for. What are the odds that a anyone, or just a baby is ejected from the car as a result of an accident?

                  You guys are as bad as the parents who call the cops when someone leaves their kid in the car at the kwik-e-mart on a 60-degree day.

              2. Please stop making libertarians look like idiots. Parents have domain over the safety of their progeny. In this case the safety is realized through proper installation of a seat. Negligence is not an excuse. This doesnt mean parents cant relax their domain as children are getting older, but this issue is literally dealing with babies and toddlers. This isnt a latch key kid type of question. If you fail to feed your babies and toddlers I’d hold you just as responsible.

                1. Parents have domain over the safety of their progeny. In this case the safety is realized through proper installation of a seat.

                  Q: How do you have agency with a singular choice?
                  A: You don’t.

                  Outright failing to feed babies and toddlers leads to death 100% of the time. Outright failure to belt your kid into a car seat, assuming you drive at all, approaches what 1%? 5%? 1 baby death in 1 billion baby-miles traveled? What are the absolute numbers? Hell, under the age of 14 non-traffic auto fatalities (entrapment, heat exhaustion/stroke, carbon monoxide, backover, etc.) consistently and for decades out stripped traffic fatalities numbers-wise. Your child is at greater risk (not harm) being *around* the car in a car seat than in the car and moving down the road and has been for decades. It just doesn’t get reported that way because 2-yr.-olds and 13-yr.-olds getting killed in car crashes get lumped together while a 2-yr.-old who dies of heat stroke in a car seat doesn’t get lumped in with a 2-yr.-old who dies of carbon monoxide poisoning in a car seat.

                  You’re conflating harm with risk and lying about agency to convince yourself you’re right.

            2. Funny, how did all the generations of people survive until the government started meddling in how we drive and ride?

              Hell, we used to ride in the back of pickups.

          2. “Some people just dont use seatbelts no matter how the government wants to force you to.”

            The technical term for this is “stupid people”

        2. Yes. I once helped my nanny reinstall her own car seat in her car. It was like she thought it would be held in by magic.

        3. This may very well be the first time I agree with you.

        4. re: “They are standard due to the now fed required standard car seat hooks”

          True if and only if the parent has a late model car. The percentage of cars still on the road that predate which predate that standard is high. (And my guess is that the percentage is higher still among new parents who generally don’t have the free cash flow to keep buying the latest model.)

          And, yeah, they are still confusing because while there is a standard requiring attachment points, there is no standard for how the car seats attach to them nor for how the attachment points may be hidden by the car manufacturers.

          1. “True if and only if the parent has a late model car.”

            There are cars on the road old enough not to have seat anchors built-in at the factory, yes. Not very many, but yes, likely driven by poor, young folk who can’t afford to get this year’s model. But there aren’t a lot of 20-year-old cars still self-mobile, relative to the number of cars out there.

            ” there is no standard for how the car seats attach to them nor for how the attachment points may be hidden by the car manufacturers.”

            And, of course, the car manufacturers absolutely refuse to provide any documentation to users about where the anchors are located and how to access them, unless you count publishing them in the owner’s manuals distributed with the cars, on the Internet, or via third-party publications.

          2. Well, post-2002 cars. I don’t consider a 2002 car to be a “late model.” That’s when the requirement started.

      2. I have a degree in Physics, advanced training in engineering and above average mechanical aptitude

        I have exactly zero degrees and no special training. What I do have is the ability to read instructions.

        1. You dont have to even read instructions. The seats literally have a picture of where the hooks go.

          1. The instructions in the last car seat I installed required the seat to be installed level. They specifically said the seat wasn’t installed correctly if it wasn’t. No mention was made as to whether the car had to be parked level, whether the suspension had to keep the frame level to the road, whether the bench had to be mounted level to the frame. So, it didn’t actually matter if the car seat was level as you were travelling down the road, it just (doesn’t) mattered when you were installing it.

            It’s not like the car or car seat are in any way guaranteed to be level at impact anyway.

            1. This is a case of securing, not leveling. Please try to read the thread instead if injecting random non associated topics.

    4. I’m surprised at the comments to this.

      Building a better car seat (read not confusing and integrated with the mfrs of car seats where they go) is fucking EXACTLY what the market is supposed to be good at. Build a better mousetrap and gain market share from those customers who actually give a shit about what the car seat is carrying.

      So why are people confused? This ain’t about the cops or gummint or courts or anything. This is about some subset of mfrs who don’t give a rat’s ass about instructions/design – and/or a subset of retailers who will sell anything that can fill up inventory cuz it’s too much of a bother to understand customers – and/or a subset of auto mfrs who don’t give a shit about the design of their product to meet actual needs of customers.

      1. The design is already standard and regulated. Has been for at least a decade. Some people are apparently really stupid.

  4. This is rare instance when I disagree with Lenore. I’ll concede that learning to properly secure a car seat is difficult, but there are many organizations available to help new parents. Once you have learned the process, there is no excuse for doing properly. I have a bigger issue, though, with the fact that the door somehow opened. I find it impossible to believe that the child would be able to reach the handle. Also, every car to my knowledge produced in the last 2 decades has locks that make impossible to open rear doors. And even if she didn’t secure the door entirely, it should have been latched enough that it would have “flew open”, unless a heavy weight slammed against it. I am not buying her story. Not at all.

    1. They now have Youtube videos to help too.

    2. Why bother strapping the kid into a car seat if you’re then going to willfully neglect to close the door. Most likely she was just in a hurry that morning or stressed out and made a few mistakes. Parents all over the nation make individual mistakes like these all the time. This woman was probably just the unlucky one to have two mistakes happen in a row (seat not latched and door not latched). Statistically speaking she’s probably just an outlier, not an outlaw.

      1. This woman was probably just the unlucky one to have two mistakes happen in a row (seat not latched and door not latched).

        In fact, child locks on doors make things even worse, because young kids learn that they can play with the shiny chrome handle without it doing anything- until the day the lock is disengaged.

        This has happened to my family before. My wife took some colleagues out to lunch, so she pulled the child seat out and threw it in the trunk. When they got to the restaurant, she disabled the child locks, so that the passenger could get out of the car. The car seat sat in the trunk until the weekend when she had a bunch of groceries needing to go in the trunk, so she moved the seat up to the cabin without latching it. Flash forward a week or two, and I use her car to take one of the kids to an appointment. It was only a stroke of luck that as I was buckling her in, my daughter tipped the seat over, revealing that it was unlatched.

        This shit happens ALL THE TIME. Penalizing parents isn’t going to decrease it at all.

        1. The Nanny-State creates a world of bubble-wrapped kids.

          Now we have a World with bubble-wrapped millennials running around shooting their ignorant mouths off.

          At this rate, why would anyone choose to have kids? They are expensive, the state is always second-guessing you parenting, and any parenting mistakes are punished via expensive legal proceedings.

        2. Bingo. And moms with young kids are lucky that they can function at all. It’s a harrowing experience.

        3. In fact, child locks on doors make things even worse, because young kids learn that they can play with the shiny chrome handle without it doing anything- until the day the lock is disengaged.

          This has happened to my family before.

          I can second this. The 8-yr.-old, taller than 4’8″ and heavier than 80 lbs. loathed being locked in the back and knew how to disable the child locks. The next time his younger brother was futzing with the door handle the door comes open. The obvious solution is to convict the whole family for the non-crime which injured no one.

    3. Let’s be clear here, though. The chances that you and your child will be in a car accident is extremely small. And the chances that improperly installed seats won’t prevent an injury are even smaller. Yes, there are plenty of resources to reduce even these tiny risks. But for millions of people, it is wasted time because they will never get in a car accident.

      There are dozens of other mitigation steps that one can take to safeguard their child and the ranks of scolds bombarding parents with advice are legion. Get first aid training. Learn the heimlich (for infants, toddlers, adults). Teach your child to dial 911. Get rid of coffee tables. childproof your cabinets. Plug your outlets. Stranger danger! Too Young to play alone! Breast feed! No BPA. The list goes on, and each item carries a cost for busy, sleep-deprived parents. I am not going to penalize some parent for failing to tick off every item on that list, whether due to a simple oversight or even a personal judgement that the time investment isn’t worth the reduction in risk.

      The author acknowledges this is a mistake, and her point is that we should use examples like this as teaching moments, not opportunities to shame and prosecute parents. I cannot find anything to disagree with there.

      1. ” But for millions of people, it is wasted time because they will never get in a car accident.”

        But for the tens of millions of people who will, or who will be unfortunately close to someone who fails to control their two-ton-death-machine, it’s a concern. And for the ones who don’t even have real driving licenses yet…

        “I am not going to penalize some parent for failing to tick off every item on that list”

        But reality WILL penalize some of those parents. Quite harshly.

  5. Ms. Hassan should assert that she hadn’t yet read the instructions for her child’s car seat and plead qualified immunity.

    1. I always suggest people shoot the nearest police dog and claim that it was “acting dangerous”.

      It gives you just enough time to get qualified immunity from a judge.

    2. She could also assert that she couldn’t read the instructions because she doesn’t speak English, French, Russian, or Korean.

  6. Exactly! It was an accident, and mom certainly learned her lesson without any threats of jail! This attitude had raised a generation of bubble wrap kids and helicopter parents!

  7. Consider, does Hillary go to jail for her “little” mistakes?

    1. Exactly what I was thinking – she can use something similar to Hillary’s “I was ignorant and didn’t really intend to allow foreign access to extremely sensitive national security information” excuse to get off of any potential charge.

  8. This situation is a little more complicated than the description here. The burn the witch! comments at that news article are also because the woman apparently lied to the police about the reason the child fell out (although that could be due to a mistranslation – the woman doesn’t speak English), she only had a learner permit, and she didn’t just fail to buckle the kid in, she left the door ajar (although unlikely, its possible the baby pulled open the door handle).

  9. Bullshit. Watch the video again. The door opens, the kid comes out, then the door closes again. How does that work? Why does she brake when the door opens and then speed up again after the kid falls out? And why does she keep driving down the street making no effort to turn around and go back for the kid?

    Jail time and let someone who loves the kid take control.

    1. The door stayed open until the lady slowed down for the traffic light and then sped up again, which is when the door closed.

      The kid fell out on a curve.

      Why didnt you link the video?
      Minnesota mom charged after toddler tumble caught on video

      1. And the mother didn’t notice anything until later. Either she’s too dumb to care for a child, or she’s lying.

    2. You must not have any children, Ragnarredbeard. Most people who have or have had children understand how harried and out of your mind you can get when you lack sufficient sleep and are rushing around trying to get your kids ready on the morning before going to work or going shopping. This lady is probably an otherwise responsible parent who loves her child but just made a mistake. Governments need to concentrate their efforts on apprehending real criminals instead of coming down hard on ordinary citizens for every mis-step.

      1. +100

        This was not criminal child neglect.

        1. In this country, we don’t decide the outcome of trials until AFTER the evidence has been seen.

  10. Interesting that Lenore doesn’t link to the video. It speaks volumes.

    1. Heh. I just noticed that the mother also went straight in a left-turn only lane.

      1. Mom doesn’t have a driver’s license. Only a learners permit. Laughably easy for an adult to obtain.

  11. How is this a common mistake? Kids is 2… she went 2 years without knowing how seatbelts work?

    1. Who uses seat belts?

      I purposefully turn off my vehicle seatbelt dingers.

      1. Don’t be a fool LC. Put on the seat belt. Your car has safety features that did not exist 20 years ago. They don’t work right without it.

        There is nothing cool about not using it.

        When I get behind the wheel of the GT and click on the belt I can at least pretend to be a race car driver, so it is fun see?

        1. I have no problem with him not wearing seat belts. I’m against seatbelt laws for adults. That said, I’ve been wearing seatbelts religiously since September of 1983. (Two minor accidents in one day made me realize I am not indestructible), which is before most states required seatbelt usage.

    2. She didn’t have a driver’s license. Maybe she was a REAL “stay at home” mom.

  12. “the state licenses drivers for a reason.”
    How very statist of you Lenore.

    1. They do license drivers for a reason – to extract a licensing fee, and a renewal fee every 4 years thereafter.

      1. Also so you can vote and not have all those illegal immigrants voting, too! Because the only thing keeping all those illegals from voting is having to show a driver’s license at the polling place.

        1. You don’t have to show a driver’s license at the polls.

          1. I know. For most of my life, I voted in Oregon, which doesn’t HAVE polling places, unless you count post offices.

  13. 93 percent of new parents don’t secure their kids in those confounding car seats correctly. And 75 percent of parents turn their kids face-forward too soon. Doing that kind of thing does not make us bad parents.

    Exactly. It makes us criminals.

  14. But obviously this never happened and our collective existence is just a computerized fabrication, since we all died as children decades ago due to slack safety standards and enforcement.

    1. So, in your formulation, anything that doesn’t kill 100% of an entire generation is not a problem?

  15. Maimuna Hassan made a common mistake. Should that be a crime?

    She made serial egregious mistakes. If what she did isn’t parental negligence nothing is.

    The mother turned around, came back in hysterics, and was slapped with child endangerment charges.

    She didn’t turn promptly around. She closed the car door and kept driving, not even aware enough to notice her kid had gone flying out. In another article I read on this incident it was was a long time before she noticed and came back.

    1. My question is why did she take so long to turn around and come back? And she didn’t drive the car back to get the kid. She walked. Makes me wonder if there was someone else in the car with her that she didn’t want anyone to see. Like maybe the guy who opened the door and pushed the kid out and then closed the door.

      1. It would explain some inconsistencies.

  16. 93 percent of new parents don’t secure their kids in those confounding car seats correctly. And 75 percent of parents turn their kids face-forward too soon.

    Sounds like a bullshit statistic.

    1. 78% of statistics are 50% accurate.

      Statistician’s Blues by Todd Snider

  17. It’s not just that car seats are “not inherently user-friendly”, it’s that they’re new. Child car seats in their current form didn’t exist when today’s parents were kids themselves, so they’ve no experience w them.

    1. Child safety seats in commercial use are about the same age as chicken nuggets. I doubt there is any parent who doesn’t understand how chicken nuggets works.

      and no I’m not blaming parents here. These safety seats are in the exact same category as tech equipment that is difficult to figure out. Mfrs simply don’t give a shit about the user-friendliness of instructions unless they have to – and either customers/distributors don’t have the ability/power in the marketplace to send signals back to the mfr that this is an important issue with their product.

      1. “Mfrs simply don’t give a shit about the user-friendliness of instructions unless they have to – and either customers/distributors don’t have the ability/power in the marketplace to send signals back to the mfr that this is an important issue with their product.”

        I counter that the main problem is people who don’t read the instructions in the first place. It doesn’t matter how good the instructions are if they go directly into the trash without ever having been examined.

        1. That’s all true. But I’ve bought a LOT of things in my life – and technical writing/ instructions is a PERVASIVE problem with most products. As a rule, engineers suck at communicating anything to anyone and either don’t know that or don’t care. But within pretty much every organization, the engineer has a lot more influence than a technical writer. Honestly a lot of instructions look to me like they were written inside a google translate search box.

          1. “As a rule, engineers suck at communicating anything to anyone”

            Engineers don’t write product manuals. Many (many many) moons back, I used to do graphic-design and copyrighting for Nintendo manuals. The graphic designer gives you a text block, tells you how many letters it can hold, and what you’re supposed to explain. So, I might get 19 characters to explain what the A button does in the game. Also, use simple vocabulary that an 8-year-old can understand, because they’re the target demographic for Nintendo games in 1990.

  18. Keep in mind that jail time is only one possible outcome, and probably not the most likely. The fact that an offense *can* result in jailtime doesn’t mean it will. When a mother lets a kid go bouncing out of the car down a busy street, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to haul the mother into court. That doesn’t mean she’s pre-committed to the worst possible punishment, or any punishment at all. The charge isn’t the conviction and the maximum sentence isn’t the only punishment.

    1. Moreover, news operations almost ALWAYS overstate “maximum jail time”.

  19. “That that Minnesota child was perfectly fine is thanks, ironically, to her mom dutifully having strapped her into the protective car seat. To treat a mistake like a crime is the kind of reaction that does not take into account reality.”

    “On the one hand, yes, this child was endangered.”

    So what matters at that point is whether the relevant statute is a strict liability offense, or it has a mens rea component. If there IS a mens rea requirement, the prosecutor must believe it can be proved.

  20. My daughter can install a car seat in a minute. Being of another generation my wife and I are not so sure we are doing it right with the new seats.

    So when she comes in town with the kids we get help.

    The local hospital will do it for you and give instructions if you want.

    Just call them and they give you an appointment so you do not need to wait.

    A good resource for those who are new or inexperienced. I am sure a lot of hospitals offer this service.

  21. On the other hand, by the time you are strapping your child into a car seat, you are not a reckless, devil-may-care parent.

    Not going to get into whether or not carseats should be mandatory *but* . . .

    If you can’t understand how they work, you’re either reckless or a moron. There’re *pictures* on how to secure them. Secure them to the seat. So your baby AND THE SEAT don’t become missiles in an accident.

  22. I just don’t get the notion that car seats are confusing.

    Two simple latches on a belt that connect to two metal rings built into the rear seats of every vehicle made since 2000.

    Its not rocket science

    1. There’s a couple of things at work. There’s the attempt to make the seats usable for a wide range of children, so parents don’t have to buy a new seat every time the kid grows an inch or two. This means that the seat needs adjustments as the child grows, and some parents don’t do it (or don’t do it at the right time). The second thing is anchoring the child seat to the anchor strap to the seat anchor, which is under the seat and isn’t used at all for adults, so adults with new children may never have needed to even know the things are down there.

      Yes, it’s in the car seat manual, and in the car’s owners manual, too. But I’ve seen people… people who’ve been driving the same car for a couple of years… have trouble remembering which side the gas tank fills from, and that’s an operation that they have been repeating.

      Car seats aren’t hard to manage… once you get it worked out. But if you’re too lazy to read the instructions, or too much in a hurry to read the instructions, or just one of those people who thinks instructions are for other people, yeah, getting it dialed in takes more effort than it should, sometimes.

  23. I’ll bet that the vast majority of adults over 40 were not in any sort of car seat when they were kids.

    1. All of the surviving adults that age or above were not in a car seat because there were none. Those who died are not here to render an opinion.

    2. Pretty sure this mom wasn’t. She’s 40 and is on a learner’s permit
      Almost surely not born in the US. Name could be Somali (common in Minnesota). not a lot of rules on safety there. Women don’t typically drive there either.

      Inexperience.

    3. Car seats have been widely used a bit more than 40 years. My son was born in April 1979 and came home in a car seat, which we bought used at the Air Force base thrift shop (and it was still a big chunk out of my paycheck) – so there had been enough time since their introduction for some infants to outgrow theirs. His big sister, born in 1972, probably never rode in one; IIRC, the early models were only for quite small children, and by the time they were made for kids over 5, she was too big for even a booster seat.

  24. Due to their coverage of the Stone raid, Reason no longer has any credibility on a story such as this

  25. Start working at home with Google. It’s the most-financially rewarding I’ve ever done. On tuesday I got a gorgeous BMW after having earned $8699 this last month. I actually started five months/ago and practically straight away was bringin in at least $96, per-hour….??…..HEAR>> http://www.geosalary.com

  26. Charging parents with neglect when something bad happens to their kids is the peak of hypocrisy. The State is a soulless being who cannot love or care about a child like a parent can.

    Leave this mom alone.

  27. Start working at home with Google. It’s the most-financially rewarding I’ve ever done. On tuesday I got a gorgeous BMW after having earned $8699 this last month. I actually started five months/ago and practically straight away was bringin in at least $96, per-hour. visit this site right here….. http://www.mesalary.com

  28. The writer forgot to write about the video. The video showed the door opening, the baby falling out, and then the mother driving away. With the back door still open, the video showed the mother’s car 2 blocks away, still moving away.

    It’s ok, she was probably texting someone.

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