CBC Radio Interview: How Well Are You Keeping Your Kids Safe?

Amber Alert



How well are we keeping our kids safe?

An Amber Alert.

A child gone missing.

A mother’s nightmare.

It’s happened one too many times and every time we hear about a child missing due to what appears to be a parent’s split-second decision, many of us judge. Perhaps not so harshly, in other cases, with extremely critical eye.

But yet so many of us have done similar things – ran into the house while the child was already strapped into the car seat; looked away for a second long enough for a toddler to get lost in the grocery store. Like so many things in life, “there but for the grace of God go I.” It could be any of us at any time.

A recent event that resulted in an Amber Alert and a citizens everywhere collectively holding their  breath and hoping for the best. A mom  had strapped her four-year-old daughter into her car seat, left the car running in her driveway, and ran inside to get her other child, only to return and find the car gone.

Can you imagine how she felt at that moment? I think all of us can: it’s our worst nightmare.

“There but for the grace of God go I”

Thankfully, the little girl that was taken was found unharmed and we all breathed a sigh of relief. Perhaps more interestingly, we looked inside ourselves and asked ourselves some difficult questions:

  1. Have I ever done anything that would have jeopardized my child’s safety?
  2. What would I have done in the same situation?
  3. How does a parent balance their responsibilities to their children – to protect them and keep them safe while realistically dealing with the logistics of day-to-day life?

On that third point – logistics – I must chime in here (and do so on the radio segment as well).

A question of logistics

I’m a parent of twins. That means, from a purely logistical point of view – a challenge. Think about it: two babies, one parent, one car, two arms.

Sure…I (and so many other parents of twins) guess I could try to balance carrying the two babies at once, along with groceries and all of the other items needed to be carried into the house, but is that really realistic? It’s a fortunate day when your husband/partner/friend/neighbour is with you and can keep an eye on one of the babies (or kids) while you run inside with the other. But what if you’re alone? Then what?

These are important questions with difficult answers; in the segment below, callers chime in that children should never, ever be left alone under any circumstances. I think we all agree with this but what remedies do we parents who have more than one small child and who are alone have? This is by no means advocating the decision to leave kids alone; rather an opportunity to enlighten people to think about the reasons behind how and why these situations occur.

Finally, while not a solution and regardless of the reasons, let’s try not to judge other parents for the decisions they make. We all know that being a mom or dad is the hardest job to do well, and we’re all just doing the best we can.

As the studio guest for a segment on the topic on CBC’s Ontario Today, I provided my thoughts, along with those who called in to the show.

Listen to the full segment here:

What risks have you taken with your kids? Do you take chances similar to the one that resulted in an amber alert? Leave me your thoughts and comments in the section below.

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