Toddler Season: Opening Day

Toddler season opened early here in Utah – on Mother’s Day, in fact. Ever since we moved here, I have been appalled and horrified at the number of small children who die because no one was watching them, and they fell into pools, irrigation ditches, off roofs, into rivers, and most commonly, they were killed because relatives in vans backed over them. I am not kidding. Google this.

This is the reason that Utah is the largest market for vans with cameras that show where you are backing up. Every year several children die because someone backed over them. THEY EVEN MAKE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMERCIALS ABOUT THIS!!!!!

Anyway the years’ first toddler got run over by her mother, who was parking her van on the grass in front of an apartment building so her radio could blast music for a party. This story was eclipsed by the murder of a 4 year old by his mom and stepdad. A lot of kids are killed in Utah. An awful lot.

Every year some are lost to snowmobile and ATV accidents. And then parents write obituaries saying the 6 year old lived to ride his ATV. You and I may ask what kind of nimrod puts an unsupervised 6 year old on an ATV, but here in Utah it is pretty normal. More kids are lost when they fall into rivers or irrigation ditches – you gotta wonder where the parents are, when babies are teetering on the edge of riverbanks – what is the family even doing there in flood season? But every spring, toddlers are lost in swollen rivers. And every summer little kids crawl under fences to get to irrigation ditches, even though those fences are posted and parents are continually barraged by PSA’s saying “Don’t let your kid play near the ditches!”

A notable death happened a couple of summers ago, when a toddler fell off the roof of a front porch. Several kids in one family crawled out on the roof to play, and the littlest toppled over the edge. Their teenage brother was supposed to be watching his siblings – because both the parents were in jail. For drug abuse, I think.

They cook kids, too. Leave ‘em in cars in the summer heat. One young mother forgot her baby when she went to a church meeting at someone’s house and came out to find a comatose infant. I guess it could have been postpartum depression, but what is so important about a church meeting, that makes you forget you have a newborn, AND IT IS IN YOUR CAR?

Well, an obvious observation is that people in Utah have huge families. And they get married young. Babies having babies. Those among us prone to black humor, say, well, if they lose one, they just make more. But every time I hear about another child dying because of stupid decisions, neglect or inattentiveness, I go into a raging fury. I don’t care what kind of afterlife you believe in, I sincerely hope your religious beliefs do not comfort you for being a horrible parent.

If you have little ones around, give them a few extra hugs. We all need to protect and nurture our babies, give them a chance to someday nurture their own kids. As I have mentioned, Utah is a beautiful place to live, but this casual approach to procreating is one of the things I loathe about its’ population. Anyway, since toddler season opened early, I expect it is gonna be a really long summer.


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