Dothan's new police chief has stern warning for parents
Newly appointed Dothan police chief Steve Parrish has a stern message for parents who leave unattended children in automobiles---it won’t be tolerated. “Our officers are going to do everything they can to make sure this doesn’t happen, especially during hot weather,” Parrish promised.
Not to suggest that the department won’t enforce laws dealing with children left in cars anytime but the dangers, no doubt, escalate when temperatures rise. “Leaving them behind will not be tolerated,” said Parrish, a father of two.
Leaving little to chance, Officer Brandon Peters spent time last week patrolling busy shopping center parking lots looking for unattended children. He found none. “That’s a good thing,” said the six year department veteran.
However, Peters knows all too well children can and do die when left stranded in a hot car. He was among the first to respond to such a case.
In 2011, a four year old boy died in Dothan after becoming stranded in a SUV parked at the family’s Citadel Avenue home. Investigators say the boy’s hands were scarred from trying to open non-functioning door handles.
The parents, Christopher Aldridge and Stephanie Coogle, were charged with manslaughter. Aldridge was later acquitted while Coogle pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison. She has since been released.
Court and investigative records show the couple had become involved in a domestic argument and briefly split. Each thought the other had the child.
The death of an Atlanta youngster last summer shined in the national spotlight brightly on hot car deaths. Ross Harris was charged with leaving his 22-month old son in a hot car all day while Harris went to work. Unlike the Dothan case, prosecutors say the act was intentional. Harris’ trial is pending.
“It makes me angry,” said Officer Peters of children left alone. Though having no kids of his own he feels like every child who lives or visits Dothan is his responsibility. “These are innocent children who don’t have a voice or the ability to protect themselves."
In search of a preventative solution, engineers at Rice University have developed a new car seat accessory that can alert parents to deadly heat in an automobile.
It can be attached to car seats and sends sound, visual, and text alerts when the device detects that the child is in danger. The device also uses a passive cooling system intended to keep an infant’s core temperature lower until medical attention arrives.
(Help from: Redorbit.com)
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