Every parent knows the  difficulties and challenges involved in raising and caring for a child. A parent welcomes these challenges because the joy that a child’s presence could bring into a home is irreplaceable. Unfortunately, there are things that must be forsaken or set aside for the sake of the child. Among these things are the regular hobbies and pastimes that might take time away from child rearing or might not be suitable or safe for children. Some parents however, are able to pursue their favorite activities by bringing the child with them. There are parents who take their children horseback riding, golfing, kayakinging, swimming, playing basketball, hiking, biking and a lot of other activities.

These shared activities seems to bond the child and parent closer and both often find this experience mutually rewarding. A child normally treasures these moments in his/her heart. Often, a child remembers these wonderful moments even as he becomes a parent himself. Not only does the initial learning of skills from the parent blossom their childhood, but it could potentially turn into a passion. This is evident in the number of great athletes whose passion for sports was nurtured by their parents at the early age.

While the majority of parent child interaction is positive, some activities done with a child can not have positive results. This was clearly illustrated in the incident that occurred last August 5, 2012. On this fateful day, Shannon Terrell Moore decided to ride his motorcycle together with his 22 months old son, RJ. According to the witnesses, the toddler was seated between the motorcycle’s handle bars and wore no helmet as the bike careened around corners. A teenager was said to have shouted at Moore to slow down and another woman in a patio called out that there is a reason why manufacturers do not make very small helmets.

Allegedly, Moore did not pay attention to these comments until he lost control of his bike. He was flung more than 50 feet along the pavement together with his young son, RJ. Moore, 49, suffered bone fractures to his head, face and collar bone, a dislocated shoulder and memory loss while his son died.

Moore, in his defense, said he loved his son and would never do anything to hurt him. He said he has done it many times before and even with his older sons and it was okay. He even said that he rides the motorcycle with his son every day. He did not consider riding the bike around with his son not wearing a helmet and in an improper sitting position risky. The jury however has a different opinion. The jury decided that the father of the toddler was guilty and should be held accountable for the death of his son. Moore was convicted in 3rd District Court of child abuse homicide as well as a second-degree felony for which he could spend up to 15 years in the Utah State Prison. He was also convicted of misdemeanor counts of unlawful motorcycle riding; driving on a suspended or revoked license and having a minor not wear protective headgear while on a motorcycle. In effect Moore lost a son, his freedom, and his wife divorced him because of the choices he had made.

The article added that Unified Police Detective Michael Anderson, the lead investigator on the case, testified that according to evidence found at the scene of the crash, Moore had been driving at least 41 mph when he lost control of the bike, but was probably driving closer to 50 mph before then.

The prosecutor said that Moore’s experience in motorcycle should be enough for him to know very well the risks associated with motorcycles. He has been riding motorcycles for forty years yet he ignored basic safety rules. He was playing Russian roulette according to the prosecutor.

A reflection on similar stories to this one shows  a common thread among safety issues concerning children. Some of them are:

Over-confidence

Most adults trusted their driving skills so much and that they do things on a regular basis without conscious thoughts on other possibilities that might happen. Maybe, they talk themselves into being safer then they actually are.

In all reality, a million things can possibly go wrong. There could be sudden mechanical problem in the bike or in the vehicle that could cause problems and if you are traveling at a high speed, would be impossible to correct or control. Another possibility would be debris or materials that blocks your way (that you did not notice on time because you were probably distracted) forcing you to swerve out of control.

Some motorists failed to wear their seat belts thinking it was just a short ride but and the distance is too short for an accident not to happen. Statistics on fatal accidents say otherwise.

Some cyclists/bikers did not wear their helmets thinking they have done it many times before and nothing had happened. Unfortunately something did happen and the lesson learned are easily forgotten by others but not by someone who had a close call.

Parents are required by law to properly restraint their child using the appropriate seats and restraints. Children under twelve years old must be seated at the back and never in the front passenger seat to avoid being harm by the air bag that will deploy during a car crash. The best policy is to not be over-confident. Follow all safety measures and always anticipate the worst and consider the safety of your child.

Failure to Anticipate

Some adults consider their physical presence as a talisman that wards off mishap and prevents accidents from happening to a child. However some stories we read on the news tell us that accidents do happen in the very presence of adults. A report featured a 9-month-old girl who was listed in critical condition after she nearly drowned when she fell headfirst into a bucket filled with water. Another story is about a  boy who wandered away from his father and subsequently drowned in a backyard pond. These accidents happened unexpectedly and it take only a few minutes to wander away from their adult supervision. Police authorities advise parents that if there is a body of water nearby, have the child wear a life vest and never take your eyes off the child. This advice is difficult and sometimes awkward to follow, but accidents do happen very quickly.

To ensure safety, a parent must child-proof the house and consider removing anything in it that can be a possible threat to safety. Every nook and cranny must be free from potential hazards.

In essence your actions can have a lasting impact on others. It is truly sad when it’s your own children who are affected or harmed by your wrong decisions and reckless behavior.

In the same manner, it would be equally bad to hurt other road users unintentionally just because someone did not expect things to happen that way. Nobody could actually accurately predict when an accident will occur. One thing is for sure, accidents can happen when someone fail to adhere to safety and traffic rules.

The echoes of the past accidents can still be heard. The message is essentially the same. For the sake of the children and to have a safe society, everyone must do his part by always reminding himself that he needs to be careful all the time. Speed is fun but what comes after is surely no longer fun.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call us at Christensen & Hymas so we can help you get the justice you deserve.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Ken Christensen
Partner, Founder at Christensen & Hymas
Ken Christensen is the founding partner of Christensen & Hymas. He is an avid cyclist, loves baseball, and enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors.

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